Skip to main content

Full text of "The luggage of life"

See other formats



luR.    CHARLES   H.    T 







Printed  in  the  United  States  of  America 

First  American  Edition  Printed  September,  1918 

Reprinted  March,  August,  December,  1919;  March,  1920;  June,  1921; 

November,  1922 

A . 



THESE  leaves  are  of  Australian  growth.  It  is  both 
unnecessary  and  impossible  to  disguise  it.  The 
breath  of  the  bush  is  on  them.  There  were,  how- 
ever, so  many  who  found  them  good,  either  for 
food  or  for  medicine,  in  these  Britains  of  the  South, 
that  it  was  suggested  that  the  plant  might  survive 
the  ordeal  of  transplantation  to  a  northern  clime. 
England  is  a  land  of  noble  hospitalities.  And, 
after  all,  men  are  built  pretty  much  the  same  way 
all  the  world  over.  A  thing  that  is  true  under  these 
soft  southern  skies  is  no  less  true  where  northern 
constellations  burn.  A  word  that  wakens  thought 
beneath  the  shadow  of  the  wattle  may  lead  a  man 
to  rub  his  eyes  under  a  spreading  English  oak.  A 
message  that  brings  back  the  smile  of  courage  to 
the  bronzed  face  of  a  disheartened  squatter  may  re- 
lieve a  bruised  spirit  in  London's  central  roar.  And 
so  I  venture !  I  only  hope  that  I  may  take  the  sob 
from  one  throat,  or  make  one  song  more  blithe. 









IV.  Two — OR    THREE' 25 

V.  THE  CAPTAIN  OF  THE  SHIP —  .  33 








I.  CLEAN  BOWLED  ! 89 






x  Contents 







XI.  'So  MANY  BEDS  IN  THE  WARD'. 161 


I.  THE  LAW  OF  THE  LANE 171 

II.  A  TONIC  OF  BIG  THINGS.. ,. .  178 





FUNERAL , ,. .  209 



IX.  HAT-PINS  AND  BUTTON-HOOKS.  . . ., 232 




LIFE  is  largely  a  matter  of  luggage.  So  soon  as 
a  child  can  toddle  he  displays  an  insatiable 
passion  for  carrying  things.  He  is  never  so  happy 
as  when  he  is  loaded.  His  face  beams  with  delight 
when  his  back  is  burdened  to  the  point  of  breaking. 
A  few  months  later  he  cries  for  a  wooden  horse  and 
cart,  that  he  may  further  gratify  his  inordinate  long- 
ing for  luggage.  And,  if  these  appetites  be  not  hu- 
moured, he  will  exhaust  his  unconsecrated  energies 
in  pushing  the  chairs,  tugging  at  tables,  and  carry- 
ing the  cat.  The  instinct  is  there.  You  can  no  more 
deny  him  his  load  than  you  can  deny  him  his  lunch. 
The  craving  for  both  is  born  in  him.  In  his  auto- 
biography, Thomas  Guthrie  tells  how  the  blood  of 
the  Scottish  lads  in  his  native  village  was  stirred  as 
the  echoes  of  Waterloo  reached  that  remote  hamlet. 
'Many  a  time,'  he  says,  'did  we  boys  tramp  a  mile 
or  two  out  of  town  to  meet  troops  marching  to  the 
war,  and  proud  we  were  to  be  allowed  to  carry  a 
soldier's  musket,  which  the  poor  fellows,  burdened 
with  all  the  heavy  accoutrements  of  those  days,  and 
wearied  with  a  twelve-hour  march  on  a  hot  sum- 


4  The  Luggage  of  Life 

mer's  day,  were  glad  enough  to  resign  to  us.'  Here 
is  the  same  subtle  law  in  operation,  Man  often  loves 
without  knowing  that  he  loves ;  and,  little  as  he  sus- 
pects it,  he  is  deeply  in  love  with  his  load.  He  groans 
beneath  it,  as  a  man  grumbles  at  the  wife  of  his 
bosom,  but,  if  it  were  taken  from  him,  he  would  be 
almost  as  disconsolate  as  if  she  were  taken  from  him. 
When  we  were  boys  at  school  we  learned  ludicrous 
lessons  about  the  weight  of  the  air.  How  we 
laughed  as  we  listened  to  the  doctrines  of  Torricelli, 
and  heard  that  every  square  inch  of  surface  has  to 
sustain  a  weight  of  fifteen  pounds !  How  we  roared 
in  our  rollicking  scepticism  when  our  school  masters 
assured  us  that  we  were  each  of  us  being  subjected 
to  a  fearful  atmospheric  pressure  of  no  less  than 
fourteen  tons !  But  Mr.  H.  G.  Wells  has  drawn  for 
us  a  picture  of  men  unladen.  His  heroes — Mr. 
Cavor  and  Mr.  Bedford — have  found  their  way  to 
the  moon.  The  fourteen  tons  of  air  are  no  longer 
on  their  shoulders.  The  atmospheric  pressure  is 
removed;  they  have  lost  their  load,  and  they  nearly 
lose  their  lives  in  consequence.  They  cannot  control 
themselves.  They  can  scarcely  keep  their  feet  on 
the  soil.  The  slightest  spring  of  the  foot,  and  they 
bound  like  a  ball  into  mid-air.  If  they  attempt  to 
leap  over  an  obstructing  boulder,  they  soar  into  space 
like  larks,  and  land  on  a  distant  cliff  or  alight  on  an 

The  Luggage  of  Life  5 

extinct  volcano.  Life  becomes  weird,  ungovernable, 
terrible.  They  are  lost  without  their  load.  Which 
things  are  symbolic.  It  is  part  of  the  pathos  of 
mortality  that  we  only  discover  how  dearly  we  love 
things  after  we  have  lost  them.  We  behold  with 
surprise  our  affections,  like  torn  and  bleeding  ten- 
drils, hanging  desolate,  lamenting  mutely  the  com- 
monplace object  about  which  they  had  entwined 
themselves.  So  is  it  with  the  lading  and  luggage  of 
life.  We  never  wake  up  to  the  delicious  luxury  of 
being  heavily  burdened  until  our  shoulders  miss  the 
load  that  galled  them.  If  we  grasped  the  deepest 
philosophy  of  life  a  little  more  clearly  we  might  per- 
haps fall  in  love  with  our  luggage.  The  baby  in- 
stinct is  perfectly  true.  Our  load  is  as  essential  to 
us  as  our  lunch.  Very  few  people  have  been  actually 
crushed  in  this  old  world  of  many  burdens.  And 
those  who  have  were  not  the  most  miserable  of  men. 
It  will  not  be  at  all  astonishing  if  the  naturalists  of 
to-morrow  assure  us  that  the  animal  world  knows 
no  transport  comparable  to  the  fierce  and  delirious 
ecstasy  of  the  worm  beneath  the  heel.  It  would 
only  be  a  natural,  and  perfectly  logical,  advance  upon 
our  knowledge  of  Livingstone's  sensations  beneath 
the  paw  of  the  lion.  At  any  rate,  it  is  clear  that  man 
owes  as  much  to  his  luggage  as  a  ship  owes  to  her 
keel.  It  seems  absurd  to  build  her  delicately,  and 

6  The  Luggage  of  Life 

then  burden  her  dreadfully.  But  the  sailor  loves  the 
heavy  keel  and  the  full  freight.  It  is  the  light  keel 
and  the  empty  hold  that  have  most  reason  to  dread 
the  storm.  Blessed  be  ballast !  is  a  beatitude  of  the 

Such  is  the  law  of  life's  luggage.  But  the  New 
Testament  gives  us  a  still  loftier  and  lovelier  word : 
'Bear  ye  one  another's  burdens,  and  so  fulfil  the 
law  of  Christ.'  And  these  laws — the  law  of  nature 
and  the  law  of  Christ — are  not  conflicting,  but  con- 
cordant. The  one  is  the  bud,  the  other  is  the  blos- 
som. For  Christ  came,  not  to  remove  life's  luggage, 
but  to  multiply  our  burdens.  It  is  true,  of  course, 
that  He  said :  'Come  unto  Me,  all  ye  that  labour  and 
are  heavy  laden,'  but  He  only  invited  them  that 
He  might  offer  them  His  yoke  and  His  burden. 
Here  is  something  worth  thinking  about.  Christ 
gives  rest  to  the  heart  by  giving  burdens  to  the 
shoulders.  And,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  it  is  in  being 
burdened  that  we  usually  find  rest.  The  Old  Testa- 
ment records  the  sage  words  of  an  old  woman 
in  addressing  two  younger  ones:  'The  Lord  grant/ 
said  Naomi,  'that  ye  may  find  rest,  each  of  you,  in 
the  house  of  her  husband!'  Who  ever  heard  of  a 
woman  finding  rest  in  the  house  of  her  husband? 
And  yet,  and  yet — !  The  restless  hearts  are  not 
the  hearts  of  wives  and  of  mothers,  as  many  a  lonely 

The  Luggage  of  Life  7 

woman  knows.  There  is  no  more  crushing  load 
than  the  load  of  a  loveless  life.  It  is  a  burden  that 
is  often  beautifully  and  graciously  borne,  but  its 
weight  is  a  very  real  one.  The  mother  may  have  a 
bent  form,  a  furrowed  brow,  and  worn,  thin  hands ; 
but  her  heart  found  its  rest  for  all  that.  Naomi  was 
an  old  woman;  she  knew  the  world  very  well,  and 
her  words  are  worth  weighing.  Heavy  luggage  is 
Christ's  strange  cure  for  weary  hearts. 

The  law  of  life's  luggage — the  'law  of  Christ' — 
has  a  racial  application.  It  is  notorious  that  a 
Christian  people  is  not  physically  more  robust  than 
a  savage  people.  Readers  of  Alfred  Russel  Wal- 
lace's Travels  on  the  Amazon  will  remember  that, 
the  farther  the  intrepid  voyager  proceeded  up  the 
great  waterway,  the  finer  became  the  physique  of  the 
natives.  And  at  last,  when  Dr.  Wallace  reached  a 
point  to  which  no  white  man  had  ever  before  pene- 
trated, he  discovered  men  and  women  any  of  whom 
might  have  posed  as  models  for  Grecian  sculptors. 
The  reason  is  obvious.  The  savage  knows  nothing 
of  'the  law  of  Christ.'  He  will  bear  no  other's 
burden.  The  sick  must  die;  the  wounded  must 
perish;  the  feeble  must  go  to  the  wall.  Only  the 
mightiest  and  most  muscular  survive  and  produce 
another  generation.  'The  law  of  Christ'  ends  all 
that.  The  luggage  of  life  must  be  distributed.  The 

8  The  Luggage  of  Life 

sick  must  be  nursed ;  the  wounded  must  be  tended ; 
the  frail  must  be  cherished.  These,  too,  must  be 
permitted  to  play  their  part  in  the  shaping  of  human 
destiny.  They  also  may  love  and  wed,  and  become 
fathers  and  mothers.  The  weaknesses  of  each  are 
taken  back  into  the  blood  of  the  race.  The  frailty 
of  each  becomes  part  of  the  common  heritage.  And, 
in  the  last  result,  if  our  men  are  not  all  Apollos,  and 
if  our  women  do  not  all  resemble  Venus  de  Medici, 
it  is  largely  because  we  have  millions  with  us  who, 
but  for  'the  law  of  Christ/  operating  on  rational 
ideals,  would  have  had  no  existence  at  all.  In  a 
Christian  land,  under  Christian  laws,  we  bear  each 
other's  burdens,  we  carry  each  other's  luggage.  It 
is  the  law  of  Christ,  the  law  of  the  cross,  a  sacrificial 
law.  The  difference  between  savagery  and  civiliza- 
tion is  simply  this,  that  we  have  learned,  in  our  very 
flesh  and  blood,  to  bear  each  other's  burdens  and  so 
fulfil  the  law  of  Christ. 

We  set  out  with  Dr.  Guthrie.  Let  us  return  to 
him.  He  is  excellent  company.  He  is  describing, 
with  a  glow  of  satisfaction,  one  of  the  ragged- 
schools  he  established  in  Edinburgh.  'I  remember/ 
he  says,  'going  down  the  High  Street  early  one 
morning  and  seeing  a  number  of  our  children  com- 
ing up.  One  of  them  was  borne  on  the  shoulders 
of  another,  and,  on  my  asking  the  reason,  he  said 

The  Luggage  of  Life  \     9 

that  the  little  fellow  had  burned  his  foot  the  night 
before,  and  he  was  carrying  him  to  school.  That,' 
said  the  doctor  emphatically,  'would  not  have  hap- 
pened in  any  other  school  in  Edinburgh.'  It  is  a 
parable.  It  is  the  law  of  life's  luggage.  It  is  the 
law  of  Christ. 



IN  childhood's  golden  hours  we  all  of  us  squandered 
a  vast  amount  of  sympathy  upon  Robinson  Crusoe. 
And  in  later  years  we  have  caught  ourselves  shed- 
ding a  silent  tear  for  the  sorrows  of  poor  Enoch 
Arden,  imprisoned  on  his  'beauteous,  hateful  isle.' 
In  imagination,  too,  we  have  paced  with  the  beloved 
disciple  the  rugged  hills  of  Patmos.  We  have  even 
felt  a  sympathetic  pang  for  Napoleon  in  his  cheer- 
less exile  at  St.  Helena.  And  all  the  while  we  have 
clean  forgotten  that  we  ourselves  are  each  of  us 
cast  upon  lonely,  sea-girt  islands.  We  are  each  one 
of  us  hopelessly  cut  off,  isolated  and  insulated. 
Moreover,  unlike  the  heroes  of  Defoe  and  Tenny- 
son, we  shall  never  sight  a  sail.  Our  beacon-fires 
will  never  bring  down  any  passing  vessel  to  our 
relief.  It  is  for  ever.  At  our  very  birth  we  were 
chained,  naked,  like  Andromeda,  to  our  rock  in  mid- 
ocean;  and  no  Perseus  will  ever  appear  to  pity  and 
deliver  us.  The  links  of  the  chain  by  which  we  are 


Our  Desert  Islands  n 

bound  are  many  and  mighty.     At  one  or  two  of 
them  it  may  do  us  good  to  look  more  particularly. 

And  by  far  the  mightiest  of  these  insulating 
factors  is  the  mystery  of  our  own  individuality. 
Each  several  ego  is  dreadfully  alone  in  the  universe. 
Each  separate  T  is  without  counterpart  in  all 
eternity.  In  the  deepest  sense  we  are  each  father- 
less and  childless;  we  have  no  kith  or  kin.  When 
God  makes  a  man  He  breaks  the  mould.  Heaven 
builds  no  sister-ships.  We  may  establish  relation- 
ships of  friendship  and  brotherhood  with  other 
island  dwellers  across  the  intervening  seas.  We 
may  hear  their  voices  shouted  across  the  foam,  and 
read  and  return  their  signals ;  but  that  is  all.  The 
most  intense  sympathy  can  never  bridge  the  gulf. 
No  man  can  enter  into  the  soul  of  his  brother  man. 
'I  was  in  the  isle,'  says  John.  And  he  says  it  for  us 
all.  'In  all  the  chief  matters  of  life/  says  Amiel  in 
his  Journal,  'we  are  alone:  we  dream  alone;  we 
suffer  alone;  we  die  alone.'  'We  are  all  islands,' 
says  George  Eliot  in  one  of  her  beautiful  letters  to 
Mrs.  Bray;  'each  in  his  hidden  sphere  of  joy  or 
woe,  our  hermit  spirits  dwell  and  roam  apart.' 
'There  is  nothing  more  solemn,'  says  Dr.  Alexander 
McLaren,  'than  that  awful  loneliness  in  which  each 
soul  of  man  lives.  We  stretch  out  our  hands  and 
grasp  live  hands ;  yet  there  is  a  universe  between  the 

12  The  Luggage  of  Life 

two  that  are  nearest  and  most  truly  one/  And 
perhaps  Matthew  Arnold  has  said  the  last  word 
when  he  sings : 

Yes,  in  the  sea  of  life  enisled, 
With  echoing  straits  between  us  thrown, 

Dotting  the  shoreless,  watery  wild, 
We   mortal   millions   live   alone. 

We  have  shed  our  tears  over  the  terrific  solitude 
of  Robinson  Crusoe  and  of  Enoch  Arden;  and,  in 
return,  Robinson  Crusoe  and  Enoch  Arden  urge  us 
to  weep  for  ourselves.  For  their  partial  and 
temporary  solitude  was  as  nothing  compared  with 
the  absoluteness  and  permanence  of  our  own. 

But  there  are  other  insulating  elements  in  life. 
Our  very  circumstances,  being  peculiar  to  ourselves, 
tend,  of  course,  to  cut  us  off  from  others.  Our  con- 
sciences, too,  for  there  is  nothing  in  the  solar  system 
so  isolating  as  a  secret,  and  especially  as  a  guilty 
secret.  A  man  with  a  secret  feels  that  it  cuts  him 
sheer  off  from  his  fellows.  A  man  with  a  guilty 
secret  feels  lonely  in  the  densest  crowd.  A  murderer 
can  never  find  a  mate.  Civilization,  therefore,  tends 
to  isolate  us.  Savages  have  but  few  secrets;  they 
know  each  other  too  well.  But  we  make  secrets  of 
everything.  Our  wealth,  our  poverty,  our  joys,  our 
sorrows,  are  our  own  private  affairs.  The  simplest 
question  becomes  an  impertinence.  To  ask  your 

Our  Desert  Islands  13 

next-door  neighbour  the  dimensions  of  his  bank 
balance,  the  sum  of  his  weekly  earnings,  or  the  age 
of  his  wife,  would  stagger  him  more  than  a  blow 
with  a  walking-stick.  The  conventionalities  of 
civilized  etiquette  all  separate  us  from  each  other, 
and  we  move  in  stately  and  solitary  dignity  through 
life  to  the  watchword  of  'Mind  your  own  business!' 
But  by  far  the  most  tragic  contributor  to  our 
isolation  is  our  pitiful  and  pitiless  lack  of  sympathy 
with  each  other.  We  may  not  altogether  understand 
each  other ;  and  we  have  our  revenge  by  taking  some 
pains  to  misunderstand.  Let  me  cull  a  pair  of 
illustrations  from  familiar  pages  of  our  literature, 
(i)  Robert  Louis  Stevenson  tells  a  famous  story  of 
two  maiden  sisters  in  the  Edinburgh  of  long  ago. 
'This  pair/  he  tells  us,  'inhabited  a  single  room. 
From  the  facts,  it  must  have  been  double-bedded; 
and  it  may  have  been  of  some  dimensions ;  but,  when 
all  is  said,  it  was  a  single  room.  Here  our  two 
spinsters  fell  out — on  some  point  of  controversial 
divinity  belike;  but  fell  out  so  bitterly  that  there 
was  never  a  word  spoken  between  them,  black  or 
white,  from  that  day  forward.  You  would  have 
thought  that  they  would  separate;  but  no,  whether 
from  lack  of  means,  or  the  Scottish  fear  of  scandal, 
they  continued  to  keep  house  together  where  they 
were.  A  chalk  line  drawn  upon  the  floor  separated 

14  The  Luggage  of  Life 

their  two  domains ;  it  bisected  the  doorway  and  the 
fireplace,  so  that  each  could  go  out  and  in,  and  do 
her  cooking,  without  violating  the  territory  of  the 
other.  So,  for  years,  they  co-existed  in  a  hateful 
silence;  their  meals,  their  ablutions,  their  friendly 
visitors,  exposed  to  an  unfriendly  scrutiny;  and  at 
night,  in  the  dark  watches,  each  could  hear  the 
breathing  of  her  enemy.  Never  did  four  walls  look 
down  upon  an  uglier  spectacle  than  these  sisters 
rivalling  in  unsisterliness.'  Here  are  desert  islands 
for  you!  (2)  In  the  Romance  of  Religion,  Olive 
and  Herbert  Vivian  tell  a  strange  story  of  two 
nuns.  They  were  Bernardines,  and  lived  side  by 
side  for  five  years  in  two  adjoining  cells,  and  so  thin 
a  partition  divided  them  that  they  could  even  hear 
the  sound  of  each  other's  breathing.  All  this  time 
they  ate  at  the  same  table  and  prayed  in  the  same 
chapel.  At  last  one  of  them  died,  and,  according  to 
the  rule  of  the  Order,  the  dead  nun  was  laid  in  the 
chapel,  her  face  uncovered,  and  the  Bernardines 
filed  past,  throwing  holy  water  upon  the  remains  as 
they  went.  When  it  came  to  the  turn  of  the  next- 
door  neighbour,  no  sooner  did  she  catch  a  sight  of 
the  dead  nun's  face  than  she  gave  a  piercing  shriek 
and  fell  back  in  a  swoon.  She  had  just  recognized 
her  dearest  friend  in  the  world,  from  whom  she  had 
parted  in  anger  years  before.  Each  had  misunder- 

Our  Desert  Islands  15 

stood  the  other,  and  thought  the  other  unaffected 
by  the  quarrel.  And  for  five  years  the  two  friends 
had  lived  side  by  side,  neither  having  seen  the 
other's  face  or  heard  the  other's  voice.  So  true  are 
the  tragic  words  of  poor  Tom  Bracken — words  that 
have  an  added  pathos  for  those  of  us  who  knew 
something  of  the  poet  himself : 

Not  understood.    We  move  along  asunder; 

Our  paths  grow  wider  as  the  seasons  creep 
Along  the  years ;  we  marvel  and  we  wonder 

Why  life  is  life,  and  then  we  fall  asleep — 
Not  understood. 

Not  understood.    How  many  breasts  are  aching 
For  lack  of  sympathy.    Ah,  day  by  day, 

How  many  cheerless,  lonely  hearts  are  breaking. 
How  many  noble  spirits  pass  away — 
Not  understood. 

O  God !  that  men  would  see  a  little  clearer, 
Or  judge  less  harshly  when  they  cannot  see! 

O  God !  that  men  would  draw  a  little  nearer 
To  one  another! — they'd  be  nearer  Thee, 
And  understood. 

'We  are  like  islands/  says  Rudyard  Kipling,  'and 
we  shout  to  each  other  across  seas  of  misunder- 

But  there  is  another  side  to  all,  and  happily  a 
brighter  one.  Island  life  has  its  compensations. 
'I  was  in  the  isle,'  says  John.  But  in  the  very  next 
sentence  he  adds,  'I  was  in  the  Spirit.'  Insulations 

i6  The  Luggage  of  Life 

have  their  inspirations.  The  world  is  not  ruled  by 
its  continents.  Wide  continental  areas,  like  China 
and  Russia,  count  for  little  in  the  world's  history. 
The  continents  are  ruled  by  the  islands,  not  the 
islands  by  the  continents.  'The  ancient  Grecians 
and  Phoenicians/  says  Lamartine,  'imbibed  some- 
thing of  the  perpetual  agitation  and  insubordination 
of  the  sea.  The  spectacle  of  the  ocean  renders  man 
more  free  and  impatient  of  restraint,  for  he  con- 
stantly beholds  the  image  of  liberty  in  its  waves,  and 
his  soul  imbibes  the  independence  of  the  element/ 
With  which  agrees  a  great  American  writer.  'It  is 
this  fluid  element/  he  says,  'that  gives  fluidity 
and  progress  to  the  institutions  and  opinions  of  the 
race.  It  is  only  in  the  great  inland  regions  of  the 
world — in  Central  Africa  and  Asia — that  bigotry 
and  inveterate  custom  have  their  seat.  In  these  vast 
regions  that  never  saw  the  sea  men  have  lived  from 
age  to  age  without  progress  or  the  idea  of  progress, 
crushed  under  despotism  and  superstition,  rooted 
down  like  their  trees,  motionless  as  their  mountains. 
It  was  never  a  Babylon  or  a  Timbuctoo  or  any  city 
of  the  inland  regions  that  was  forward  to  change  or 
improvement.  It  was  a  Tyre,  Queen  of  the  Sea ;  a 
Carthage,  sending  out  her  ships  beyond  the  Pillars 
of  Hercules  to  Britain  and  the  Northern  Isles;  an 
Athens,  an  Alexandria, — these  were  the  seats  of 

Our  Desert  Islands  17 

thought,  of  art,  of  learning,  and  literal  improvement 
of  every  sort.'  Island  life  has  therefore  compensa- 
tions peculiar  to  itself. 

All  of  which  is  an  allegory.  Every  isolation  is  a 
preparation  for  the  conquest  of  a  continent.  Think 
of  the  isolation  of  John  Milton,  represented  by  his 
blindness;  and  think,  at  the  same  time,  of  Paradise 
Lost.  What  an  island  Bedford  Jail  seemed  to 
Bunyan!  And  what  continents  has  he  won  by  his 
Pilgrim's  Progress*.  John  fretted  like  a  caged  lion 
on  his  rock  at  Patmos;  but  his  visions  there  have 
enriched  every  time  and  every  clime.  We  are 
isolated  in  the  loneliness  of  our  own  individuality 
that  each  individual  may  contribute  out  of  his 
peculiar  experience  to  the  wealth  of  the  whole 
world.  There  is  no  charge  committed  to  our  care 
so  mysterious  and  so  sacred  as  the  development 
and  diffusion  of  our  own  selves.  And  every  other 
insulating  element  is  designed,  not  as  an  exile  for 
the  one,  but  as  an  enrichment  for  the  whole.  The 
islands  are  the  masters  of  the  continents  in  this 
world  and  in  every  other.  And  thus  it  has  come  to 
pass  that  the  dreariest,  most  desolate,  and  most 
awful  isolation  of  which  men  have  ever  heard — the 
loneliness  and  dereliction  of  the  Cross — is  issuing, 
and  must  issue,  in  the  conquest  and  redemption  of 
the  world. 



POOR  Mr.  Little-Faith  was  violently  assaulted  and 
robbed  in  Deadman's  Lane.  So  Bunyan  tells  us. 
But  the  remarkable  thing  about  the  crime  was  this, 
that,  when  he  recovered  his  senses  and  was  able  to 
investigate  his  loss,  he  found  that  his  assailants  had 
taken  only  his  spending-money.  'The  place  where 
his  jewels  were,  they  never  ransacked ;  so  those  he 
kept  still.'  There  is  a  subtle  philosophy  about  the 
episode  in  Deadman's  Lane.  Prebendary  Carlile, 
the  head  of  the  Church  Army,  tells  a  delightful 
story  of  a  Welsh  miner  who,  in  the  great  days  of  the 
Revival,  avowed  himself  a  disciple  of  Jesus  Christ. 
He  had  previously  exhibited  an  amazing  facility  in 
the  use  of  expletives  of  the  baser  kind.  With  his 
changed  life,  however,  it  became  customary  for  him 
to  meet  the  most  exasperating  treatment  with  a 
manly  smile  and  a  homespun  benediction.  His 
mates,  disapproving  the  revolution  in  his  behaviour, 
one  day  stole  his  dinner.  But  all  they  heard  their 
transformed  comrade  say  was:  Traise  the  Lord! 


Our  Highway  Robberies  19 

I've  still  got  my  appetite \  They  can't  take  that!' 
The  good  collier  only  emphasized,  in  his  own  quaint 
way,  the  lofty  logic  of  Deadman's  Lane.  The  truth 
is  embedded  in  the  very  essence  of  Christian  teach- 
ing. The  robbers  always  leave  the  best  behind 
them ;  they  cannot  help  it.  The  writer  of  the  Epistle 
to  the  Hebrews  commends  his  readers  for  having 
taken  joyfully  the  spoiling  of  their  goods.  And  he 
adds :  'Ye  are  well  aware  that  ye  have  in  your  own 
selves  a  more  valuable  possession,  and  one  which 
will  remain.'  Life's  spoilers  leave  the  best  of  the 
spoil  after  all. 

The  pilgrims  to  the  Celestial  City  must  all  of  them 
pass  through  the  eerie  shades  of  Deadman's  Lane. 
And  they  alone  can  enter  that  darksome  avenue 
with  a  song  on  their  lips  who  are  first  assured  of  the 
absolute  security  of  their  best  possessions.  In  one 
of  the  noblest  passages  of  Sesame  and  Lilies,  Ruskin 
deals  with  that  great  saying  in  the  Sermon  on  the 
Mount  concerning  the  treasures  of  the  Court,  which 
a  moth  can  destroy;  the  treasures  of  the  Camp, 
which  rust  can  defile;  and  the  treasures  of  the 
Counting-house,  which  a  thief  can  despoil.  These, 
then,  are  the  desperadoes  of  Deadman's  Lane — the 
moth  and  the  rust  and  the  thief !  And  these  are  the 
only  things  that  they  can  steal — the  treasures  of 
Place  and  of  Power  and  of  Pelf !  But  there  must,  as 

20  The  Luggage  of  Life 

Ruskin  argues,  be  a  fourth  order  of  treasure — a  web 
made  fair  in  the  weaving,  by  Athena's  shuttle  (a 
web  that  no  moth  can  destroy) ;  an  armour  forged 
in  divine  fire  by  Vulcanian  force  (an  armour  that  no 
rust  can  defile) ;  a  gold  to  be  mined  in  the  very 
sun's  red  heart,  where  he  sets  over  the  Delphian 
cliffs  (a  gold  that  no  thief  can  steal)  ;  deep-pictured 
tissue;  impenetrable  armour;  potable  gold.  Yes; 
there  is,  there  is!  And  it  was  to  this  fourth  order 
of  treasure  that  Jesus  pointed  in  His  great  sermon. 
It  was  treasure  of  this  fourth  order  that  Mr.  Little- 
Faith  safely  retained,  after  his  robbery,  in  'the  place 
where  his  jewels  were.'  These  'the  robbers  never 
ransacked ;  so  these  he  kept  still.' 

Now  it  so  happened  that  Peter  was  standing  by 
that  day,  and  heard  that  great  word  about  the  robes 
of  office  that  moths  cannot  eat,  about  the  swords  of 
power  that  rust  cannot  defile,  and  about  the  shining 
hoard  that  thieves  cannot  steal.  And  long  afterwards 
the  three  sets  of  treasures  were  running  in  his  mind 
when  he  himself  wrote  to  scattered  and  persecuted 
Christians  concerning  the  inheritance  that  is  incor- 
ruptible, because  no  moth  can  corrupt  it,  and  unde- 
filable,  because  no  rust  can  defile  it,  and  unfading, 
because  no  thieves  can  steal  it.  These  are  the  jewels 
that  the  brigands  of  Deadman's  Lane  can  never 

Our  Highway  Robberies  21 

Oh  the  night  was  dark  and  the  night  was  late, 

And  the  robbers  came  to  rob  him ; 
And  they  picked  the  locks  of  his  palace-gate, 

The  robbers  that  came  to  rob  him — 
They  picked  the  locks  of  his  palace-gate, 
Seized  his  jewels  and  gems  of  state, 
His  coffers  of  gold  and  his  priceless  plate, — 

The  robbers  that  came  to  rob  him. 

But  loud  laughed  he  in  the  morning  red ! 

For  of  what  had  the  robbers  robbed  him? 
Ho !  hidden  safe  as  he  slept  in  bed, 

When  the  robbers  came  to  rob  him, 
They  robbed  him  not  of  a  golden  shred 
Of  the  radiant  dreams  in  his  wise  old  head — 
'And  they're  welcome  to  all  things  else  !'  he  said, 

When  the  robbers  came  to  rob  him. 

The  lines  inevitably  recall  the  well-known  story 
of  Jeremy  Taylor.  His  house  had  been  pitilessly 
plundered;  all  his  choicest  possessions  had  been 
squandered;  his  family  had  been  turned  out  of 
doors.  Yet,  in  face  of  his  sore  trial,  the  good  man 
kneeled  down  and  gave  humble  and  hearty  thanks 
to  his  God  that  his  enemies  had  left  him  'the  sun  and 
the  moon,  a  loving  wife,  many  friends  to  pity  and 
relieve,  the  providence  of  God,  all  the  promises  of 
the  gospel,  his  faith,  his  hope  of  heaven,  and  his 
charity  towards  his  enemies!'  Life's  burglars  and 
bandits  can  make  but  poor  headway  against  a  man 
of  that  temper. 

22  The  Luggage  of  Life 

But  of  all  those  whose  pockets  have  been  rifled, 
and  whose  houses  have  been  robbed,  none  have 
suffered  more  heavily  than  Paul.  He  knew  the 
skill  of  the  robbers  better  than  any  of  us.  Here  is 
his  own  record :  'In  stripes  above  measure,  in  prisons 
more  frequent,  in  deaths  oft.  Of  the  Jews  five 
times  received  I  forty  stripes  save  one.  Thrice  was 
I  beaten  with  rods,  once  was  I  stoned,  thrice  I  suf- 
fered shipwreck,  a  night  and  a  day  I  have  been  in 
the  deep;  in  journeyings  often,  in  perils  of  waters, 
in  perils  of  robbers,  in  perils  by  mine  own  country- 
men, in  perils  by  the  heathen,  in  perils  in  the  city, 
in  perils  in  the  wilderness,  in  perils  in  the  sea,  in 
perils  among  false  brethren ;  in  weariness  and  pain- 
fulness,  in  watchings  often,  in  hunger  and  thirst,  in 
fastings  often,  in  cold  and  nakedness.'  Yes,  'in 
peril  of  robbers/  The  sea  had  robbed  him  once, 
and  the  land  had  robbed  him  often.  He  knew  what 
the  robbers  could  steal,  and  he  knew  what  they  could 
not.  'Whether  there  be  prophecies,  they  shall  fail; 
whether  there  be  tongues,  they  shall  cease;  whether 
there  be  knowledge,  it  shall  vanish  away.'  These 
are  life's  'spending-money,'  which  we  may  lose  by 
violent  hands  in  Deadman's  Lane.  But  the  apostle 
goes  on :  'But  now  abideth  faith,  hope,  love — these 
three;  and  the  greatest  of  these  is  love/  These  are 
the  jewels  that  the  robbers  cannot  ransack. 

Our  Highway  Robberies  23 

I  had  a  friend, 

Whose  love  no  time  could  end ; 
That  friend  didst  Thou  to  Thine  own  bosom  take ; 

For  this,  my  loss,  I  see  no  reparation ; 

The  earth  was  once  my  home — a  habitation 
Of  sorrow  Thou  hast  made  it  for  this  sake. 

I  had  a  love 

(This  bitterest  did  prove)  ; 

A  mystic  light  of  joy  on  earth  and  sky; 

Strange  fears  and  hopes ;  a  rainbow  tear  and  smile, 
A  transient  splendour  for  a  little  while ; 

Then — sudden  darkness ;  Lord,  Thou  knowest  why ! 

What  have  I  left? 

Of  friend  and  love  bereft; 

Stripped  bare  of  everything  I  counted  dear. 
What  friend  have  I  like  that  I  lost?    What  call 
To  action?   Nay,  what  love?   Lord,  I  have  all, 

And  more  besides,  if  only  Thou  art  near ! 

In  Florence  visitors  are  shown  the  doors  which 
Michael  Angelo  declared  to  be  fit  for  the  gates  of 
Paradise.  They  are  covered  with  exquisite  pictures, 
and  picked  out  with  noble  imagery  in  bronze.  But 
those  gates  were  once  gilded,  and  Dante  speaks  of 
them  as  the  'golden  gates.'  The  centuries  have 
eaten  away  the  gilt,  but  have  been  unable  to  touch 
one  particle  of  the  magnificent  work  of  the  immortal 
master.  Let  us  put  on  a  cheerful  courage,  there- 
fore, as  we  enter  Deadman's  Lane.  The  best  always 
abides  after  the  gleam  and  the  gloss  have  worn  off. 

24  The  Luggage  of  Life 

Tjhat  is  for  ever  and  for  ever  the  strong  consolation 
of  the  Christian  gospel.  The  robbers  steal  the 
glitter ;  they  cannot  touch  the  gold.  They  take  Mr. 
Little-Faith's  spend  ing-money ;  but  his  jewels  are 
still  his  own  after  the  brigands  have  decamped. 


A  BLIND  man  can  always  tell  when  there  is  a  poor 
congregation.  In  such  a  case  the  minister  invariably 
quotes  a  certain  text:  "Where  two  or  three  are 
gathered  together  in  My  name,  there  am  I  in  the 
midst  of  them.'  But  the  text  is  as  much  out  of 
place  as  the  missing  worshippers.  We  have  no  right 
to  drag  it  in  drearily,  dolefully,  dismally,  whenever 
the  empty  pews  are  particularly  conspicuous.  It  is 
not  an  apology  for  human  absence.  It  is  a  trium- 
phant proclamation  of  the  divine  presence.  And  it 
raises  a  most  interesting  question.  Who  are  the 
TWO?  And  who  is  the  possible  THIRD.? 


Who  are  the  TWO  ? 

Who  can  they  be  but  Euodias  and   Syntyche, 
those  two  wrangling  sisters  in  the  church  at  Philippi, 


26  The  Luggage  of  Life 

and  all  their  still  more  quarrelsome  daughters  in  all 
the  churches  of  the  world?  Who  can  they  be  but 
Paul  and  Barnabas,  so  sharply  contending;  and 
all  their  contentious  sons  the  wide  world  over? 
Wherever  and  whenever  two  daughters  of  Euodias 
and  Syntyche — poor  ruffled  creatures  who  have 
judged  rashly  and  spoken  hastily — meet  together 
that  they  may  kiss  each  other  for  Christ's  dear  sake, 
and  'be  of  the  same  mind  in  the  Lord/  'there/  says 
their  great  Master,  'am  I  in  the  midst  of  them/ 
Wherever  and  whenever  two  sons  of  Paul  and 
Barnabas — poor  inflamed  disciples  who  have  con- 
tended sharply  and  divided  suddenly — meet  to- 
gether that  they  may  love  each  other  for  the  gospel's 
sake  (until  they  come  once  more  to  love  each  other 
for  their  own)  there,  says  their  Lord,  am  I  in  the 
midst  of  them.  It  is  at  such  times  as  it  is  at  the  table 
of  the  Lord.  There  is  the  same  real  Presence,  the 
same  thrill  of  the  heart ;  the  same  'thoughts  that  do 
lie  too  deep  for  tears.'  He  is  there,  forgiving,  and 
teaching  them  the  high  art  of  forgiveness;  forget- 
ting, and  showing  them  how  to  forget. 

But  the  THIRD — the  possible  THIRD?  'Two — or 
three'  Who  is  he?  The  third,  if  there  be  a  third, 
is  clearly  that  blessed  one  of  the  Seventh  Beatitude : 
'Blessed  are  the  peacemakers,  for  they  shall  be  called 
the  children  of  God/  The  possible  third  is  some 

'Two — or  Three'  27 

lovely  and  gracious  spirit  who  has  wept  in  secret 
over  the  pitiful  estrangement  of  poor  thin-skinned 
Euodias  and  poor  quick-tempered  Syntyche.  And, 
by  her  beautiful  ministry,  she,  like  an  angel  of  peace, 
has  brought  them  to  this  place  of  the  Holy  Presence. 
The  possible  third  is  some  strong,  sane,  saintly 
soul  who  has  grieved  over  the  sharp  contentions  of 
Paul  and  Barnabas,  and  has  tactfully  helped  them 
each  to  a  discovery  of  the  other's  excellences. 
Where  Euodias  and  Syntyche  and  such  an  angel 
meet,  where  Paul  and  Barnabas  and  such  a  Great- 
heart  kneel,  we  take  our  shoes  from  off  our  feet,  for 
the  place  whereon  we  stand  is  holy  ground.  It  is 
hallowed  by  the  Presence.  'Where  two  or  three  are 
gathered  together  in  My  name,  there  am  I  in  the 
midst  of  them.'  'These  words,'  says  Professor 
Simon,  'were  spoken  primarily  of  those  who  were 
assembled  for  the  settlement  of  quarrels.'  So  be  it. 


Who  are  the  TWO  ? 

Who  can  they  be  but  a  husband  and  a  wife? 
Following  upon  the  excellent  example  of  Paul, 
Peter  addresses  himself  to  all  hubsands  and  to  all 
wives  till  wedding-bells  shall  chime  no  more.  But 
Peter  goes  just  one  step  beyond  Paul,  in  that  he 


takes  all  his  husbands  and  wives  into  his  confidence, 
and  tells  them  the  profound  reason  for  his  earnest 
solicitude  on  their  behalf.  'That  your  prayers  be 
not  hindered/  he  says.  'I  have  so  carefully  warned 
and  admonished  and  instructed  you  as  to  your  atti- 
tude and  behaviour  to  each  other  that  your  prayers 
be  not  hindered/  Happy  is  that  bridegroom  who, 
when  all  the  confetti  has  been  thrown,  when  the 
chattering,  giggling  throng  is  at  last  excluded,  when 
he  finds  himself  at  length  alone  with  his  bride, 
kneels  with  her,  and  lays  in  prayer  and  adoration  the 
foundation  of  the  new  home.  'Except  the  Lord 
build  the  house,  they  labour  in  vain  that  build  it.' 
Wherever  and  whenever  a  man  and  his  wife  bow  in 
the  presence  of  the  Highest,  that  they  may  sweeten 
and  strengthen  and  sanctify  their  happy  union  by  a 
common  fellowship  with  God,  there,  says  the 
strange  Guest  who  blessed  the  marriage  at  Cana, 
there  am  I  in  the  midst  of  them.  These  are  the  TWO. 
But  the  THIRD — the  possible  THIRD?  'Two — or 
three.'  Who  is  he?  Let  us  consult,  in  our  per- 
plexity, one  of  the  fathers  of  the  Church.  Let 
Clement  of  Alexandria  tell  us.  'Who  are  the  two  or 
three  gathered  together  in  Christ's  name,  and  in 
whose  midst  the  Lord  is?  Is  it  not  husband  and 
wife  and  child  f  To  be  sure.  In  the  days  of  love's 
young  dream  we  say  that  'two's  company,  three's 

'Two — or  Three'  29 

none.'  But  when  God  sends  a  little  child  into  a 
home  the  early  theory  stands  exploded,  and  three 
become  company,  and  two  become  none  for  ever 
after.  There  is  hope  for  Christianity  so  long  as 
these  three  gather  in  His  name,  and  He  is  in  the 
midst  of  them.  The  family  altar  is  the  hub  of  the 
spiritual  universe.  Every  husband  who  does  not 
daily  enjoy  the  benediction  of  the  'two  or  three' 
should  straightway  read  the  fragrant  life-story  of 
Thomas  Boston.  And  every  wife  whose  domestic 
drudgeries  and  social  niceties  are  not  glorified  by  the 
blessing  of  the  'two  or  three'  should  hasten  to  the 
nearest  library  for  the  life  of  Susanna  Wesley.  And 
after  he  has  read  the  tale  of  Thomas  Boston,  and 
after  she  has  read  the  story  of  Susanna  Wesley,  not 
a  word  will  be  said.  They  will  rise  and  look  into 
each  other's  faces  with  a  glance  of  perfect  under- 
standing. And  'a  possible  third'  will  be  brought  in 
from  a  cot  or  from  a  kitchen,  and  that  home  will  be- 
come the  gate  of  heaven.  They  will  meet  together, 
and  read  together,  and  pray  together  on  that  day 
and  on  every  day  that  comes  after  it.  And  where 
those  two — or  three — gather  together  in  His  name, 
there  He  will  be  in  the  midst  of  them. 

That  was  a  great  word  which  fell  the  other  day 
from  the  lips  of  King  George  V:  'The  foundations 
of  national  glory,'  he  said,  'are  set  in  the  homes  of 

30  The  Luggage  of  Life 

the  people.  They  will  only  remain  unshaken  while 
the  family  life  of  our  nation  is  strong  and  simple  and 
pure.'  It  was  right  royally  spoken.  Herein  lies 
life's  wealthiest  enrichment  and  finest  fortification. 


Who  are  the  TWO? 

Who  can  they  be  but  those  torch-bearers  and 
testifiers  whom  He  has  sent  in  pairs  to  the  uttermost 
ends  of  the  earth  ?  He  sent  them  forth  two  by  two, 
and  wherever  any  two  of  them  sit  by  the  wayside,  or 
kneel  in  the  shadow,  or,  like  the  men  of  Emmaus, 
talk  as  they  walk,  there  will  He  be  in  the  midst  of 
them.  And  so  men  have  paired  off  ever  since — Paul 
and  Silas,  Mark  and  Barnabas,  Luther  and  Melanch- 
thon,  Franciscan  friars,  Dominican  monks,  Lollard 
preachers,  Salvationist  officers,  travelling  evan- 
gelists, and  a  host  beside.  Nor  are  the  minister  and 
his  wife  in  their  manse,  or  the  missionary  and  his 
wife  at  their  remote  outpost,  any  exception  to  the 
rule.  And  wherever  and  whenever  His  ambassa- 
dors, persecuted  as  Paul  and  Silas  were  persecuted, 
meet  together  in  His  name,  as  Paul  and  Silas  in 
their  prison  'prayed  and  sang  praises  unto  God/ 
there  will  He  be  in  the  midst  of  them,  as  He  was 
most  manifestly  in  the  midst  of  them  on  that  never- 

'Two — or  Three'  31 

to-be-forgotten  night  at  Philippi.  It  is  ever  so. 
This  great  saying  concerning  the  'two  or  three'  is 
the  watchword  of  the  faith.  It  is  the  pledge  that, 
however  isolated  the  scene,  however  remote  the 
station,  however  lonely  the  toilers,  He  is  always 

But  the  THIRD — the  possible  THIRD?  'Two — or 
three.'  Who  is  he?  Who  can  he  be  but  the  first 
convert?  Lydia,  for  example,  that  winsome  soul 
who,  as  the  'Lady  of  the  Decoration'  would  have 
said,  'had  a  beautiful  big  house,  and  a  beautiful  big 
heart,  and  took  us  right  into  both.'  Paul  never  for- 
got when  he  and  Silas  and  Lydia — happy  three! 
— met  together  in  His  name.  It  was  the  very  joy 
that  is  in  the  presence  of  the  angels  overflowing 
into  the  hearts  of  mortal  men.  There  was  not  a 
shadow  of  doubt  about  it.  He  was  clearly  there  in 
the  midst  of  them.  Or  the  jailer,  for  example. 
Paul  and  Silas  and  their  jailer !  What  a  triad !  But 
what  a  night  was  that!  No  Christian  knows  what 
Christianity  really  means  until  he  has  experienced 
such  days  as  that  day  of  Lydia' s  and  such  nights  as 
that  night  with  the  jailer.  Religion  catches  fire  and 
becomes  sensational.  The  moment  when  two  weary 
workers  kneel  with  their  first  convert  has  all  eternity 
crammed  and  crowded  into  it.  Ask  Robert  and 
Mary  Moffat  if  that  is  not  so.  Wherefore  let  every 

32  The  Luggage  of  Life 

minister  and  his  wife,  and  every  missionary  and  his 
wife,  and  every  pair  of  Christian  comrades  every- 
where, keep  an  eye  open  day  and  night  for  the  pos- 
sible Number  Three.  'Two — or  three,'  the  Master 
said.  Three's  company ;  two's  none ! 


THE  unvarnished  fact  is  that  even  the  skipper  does 
not  know  everything.  He  sweeps  the  horizon  with 
his  glasses,  but  there  are  signs  in  the  sky  that  elude 
his  wary  observation.  He  may  quite  easily  be 
beaten  at  his  own  game.  The  seer  in  the  cabin  may 
decipher  the  language  of  the  clouds  more  accurately 
than  the  bronzed  and  weather-beaten  mariner  on 
the  quarter-deck.  That  was  the  mistake  the  cen- 
turion made.  'The^centurion  believed  the  master  of 
the  ship  more  than  those  things  which  were  spoken 
by  Paul.'  It  is  a  purely  nautical  matter.  The  cap- 
tain of  the  ship  predicts  fair  weather  and  urges  an 
early  clearance.  Paul,  the  prisoner  and  passenger, 
foretold  angry  seas,  and  advised  remaining  in 
shelter.  The  centurion  believed  the  captain  of  the 
ship.  But  Paul  was  right;  the  captain  was  wrong; 
and  the  ship  was  lost.  Sooner  or  later,  all  life  re- 
solves itself  into  a  desperate  struggle  for  human 
credence  between  Paul  and  the  captain  of  the  ship. 
The  point  is  that  the  captain  of  the  ship  is  the  man 

34  The  Luggage  of  Life 

who  might  be  supposed  to  know.  He  is  a  specialist. 
And  Paul  sets  over  against  his  nautical  erudition  the 
unsatisfying  words,  'I  perceive.'  It  is  a  case  of 
Reason  on  the  one  hand  and  Revelation  on  the 
other;  and  the  centurion  pins  his  faith  to  the  vigi- 
lant captain  rather  than  to  the  visionary  Paul.  That 
is  the  exact  point  at  which  the  world  has  always 
missed  its  way.  That  was  the  trouble  at  the  very 
start.  Could  it  be  that  to  eat  of  the  fruit  of  the  tree 
would  be  to  die?  Was  it  reasonable  upon  the  face 
of  it?  And  Adam  believed  the  captain  of  the  ship. 
Later  Noah  predicted  a  flood.  Where  were  the  phe- 
nomena to  warrant  such  an  alarming  forecast?  Did 
it  appeal  to  common  sense?  And  again  the  insistent 
voice  of  Revelation  was  scouted.  Visit  the  melan- 
choly sites  of  Edom  and  Babylon,  of  Tyre  and 
Sidon,  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah,  of  Greece  and 
Rome,  and  everywhere,  on  crumbling  pillar  and 
broken  arch,  seeing  eyes  may  discern  these  signifi- 
cant words,  deeply  graven  on  the  ruins  that  are 
splendid  even  in  decay:  They  believed  the  captain 
of  the  ship.  These  magnificent  empire-builders  of 
yesterday  scouted  the  nebulous  perceptions  of  the 
prophets,  and  they  fell.  National  shipwreck  always 
comes  along  that  line. 

It  is  wonderful  how  little  the  practical  man  really 
knows.    A  grey-headed  old  theorist  is  tapping  away 

The  Captain  of  the  Ship  35 

with  his  geological  hammer  among  the  stones  and 
.  strata  on  the  hill-side.  As  he  leaves  he  remarks 
casually  that  there  is  coal  in  the  mountain.  The 
practical  man  smiles'  incredulously  at  the  poor  old 
fellow  as  he  packs  his  hammers  and  glasses  and 
specimens  and  strolls  off  home;  but,  a  year  or  two 
later,  when  the  hill-side  is  riddled  with  shafts,  grimy 
with  coal-dust,  and  black  with  smoke,  the  'practical 
man'  bites  his  lips  in  disgust  at  his  failure  to  take 
the  old  dreamer's  hint.  The  meteorologist  shuts  him- 
self up  in  his  laboratory  among  phials  and  chemicals. 
Presently  he  opens  his  door  and  gravely  predicts  a 
storm.  The  masters  of  the  craft  down  at  the  port 
smile  knowingly  and  put  to  sea ;  but  when  their  ships 
are  in  the  pitiless  grip  of  the  gale  they  grimly  re- 
member the  forecast.  Only  the  other  day  Professor 
Belar,  Director  of  the  Larbach  Observatory,  warned 
miners  of  seismic  unrest  that  seemed  likely  to 
liberate  fire-damp.  He  was  not  taken  very  seri- 
ously; and  within  a  day  or  two  all  Europe  stood 
aghast  at  the  horror  of  the  Lancashire  colliery  ex- 
plosion. Paul  generally  knows  what  he  is  talking 

It  would  be  an  appalling  calamity  if  we  were  left 
at  the  mercy  of  the  captain  of  the  ship.  He  may 
be  true  as  steel,  and  good  as  gold,  but,  as  in 
the  case  under  notice,  he  makes  mistakes.  Those 

56  The  Luggage  of  Life 

who  are  inclined,  like  the  centurion,  to  trust  the 
captain  of  the  ship  rather  than  those  things  that 
are  spoken  by  Paul  will  do  well  to  consult  a  second 
captain.  There  are  more  ships  than  one,  and  the 
opinion  of  the  second  captain  will  diverge  from 
that  of  the  first.  Doctors  differ.  I  have  recently 
been  reading  the  biographies  of  some  of  our  greatest 
English  judges,  and  few  things  are  more  curious 
than  the  way  in  which  two  distinguished  judges, 
equally  able  and  equally  conscientious,  will  hear 
the  selfsame  evidence,  and  listen  to  the  selfsame 
speeches,  and  then  arrive  at  diametrically  opposite 
conclusions.  The  same  phenomenon  is  common  in 
politics.  Great  and  gifted  men,  trained  to  wrestle 
with  the  problems  of  political  economy,  developing 
by  long  experience  all  the  instincts  and  functions 
of  statesmanship,  will  divide  sharply  and  oppose 
each  other  hotly  on  the  most  simple  issues. 

Clearly  the  captain  of  the  ship  is  unreliable.  In  a 
world  like  this,  on  which  so  many  worlds  depend,  it 
would  be  the  climax  of  misfortune  if  the  captain  of 
the  ship  had  it  all  his  own  way.  There  are  visions, 
perceptions,  revelations.  God  speaks  from  without. 
He  speaks  plainly,  so  that  wayfaring  men  may  not 
err.  Paul  rises  and  says  grandly,  'Sirs,  I  per- 
ceive. .  .  .'  And  that  centurion  is  foolish  indeed 
who  believes  the  captain  of  the  ship  more  than 

The  Captain  of  the  Ship  37 

those  things  that  are  spoken  by  Paul.  The  dusty 
and  travel-stained  pilgrims  of  eternity  would  be  of 
all  men  most  miserable  if,  amidst  the  babel  of  many 
advisers,  no  clear  guidance  had  reached  them  from 
the  haven  of  their  desire.  Happily,  the  Lord  of 
the  Pilgrims  does  not  leave  His  Christians  and 
Hopefuls  to  find  the  way  to  the  Celestial  City  as 
best  they  may.  There  are  the  'things  spoken  by 

Yet  it  must  be  admitted  that  there  is  a  certain 
glamour  and  fascination  about  the  captain  of  the 
ship.  It  is  restful  to  believe  him  rather  than  to 
venture  everything  upon  the  verdict  of  a  visionary. 
In  one  of  the  biographies  to  which  we  have  referred 
an  interesting  situation  occurs.  It  is  in  the  Life 
of  Sir  Henry  Hawkins  (Baron  Brampton).  At  the 
very  climax  of  his  fame  as  a  judge,  accustomed 
every  day  to  weighing  conflicting  evidence,  and 
deciding  between  opposing  claims,  the  great  judge 
gave  himself  to  the  study  of  religion,  and,  as  a 
result,  he  joined  the  Roman  Church.  Newman's 
Apologia  is  a  similar  case.  How  can  these  'con- 
versions' be  explained?  The  answer  is  obvious. 
Considered  from  the  strictly  judicial  point  of  view 
of  Hawkins,  or  from  the  coldly  intellectual  stand- 
point of  Newman,  their  decisions  are  perfectly 
intelligible.  They  simply  believed  the  captain  of 

38  The  Luggage  of  Life 

the  ship.  In  the  Roman  Church  they  find  a  com- 
mander, a  head,  a  pope.  He  speaks  plainly,  he  is 
invested  with  the  glamour  of  authority,  and  his 
decisions  are  final;  he  is  the  captain  of  the  ship. 
But  there  are  other  voices  that  do  not  yield  to 
such  icily  critical  investigation.  They  are  subtle, 
silent,  spiritual.  But  they  satisfy,  and  lead  to  safety. 
'The  centurion  believed  the  captain  of  the  ship 
more  than  those  things  which  were  spoken  by  Paul.' 
That  is  exactly  what,  moving  along  purely  logical 
and  coldly  intellectual  lines,  Hawkins  and  Newman 
would  have  done. 

But  when  all  is  said  and  done,  Paul  is  right.  A 
leading  English  minister,  the  other  day,  drew  aside 
the  veil  of  squalor  and  filth,  and  revealed  to  an 
eminent  scientist  the  raw  material  on  which  he 
worked — the  very  refuse  and  wreckage  of  society. 
'Is  there  any  hope  for  these  people?'  he  asked. 
The  old  professor  took  his  time,  and  answered  sagely, 
'Pathologically  speaking,  there  is  none!'  Just  so. 
That  is  the  verdict  of  the  captain  of  the  ship.  But 
Paul  cries,  'Sirs,  I  perceive  .  .  .  ,'  and  tells  a  vastly 
different  tale.  And  which  is  right?  Ask  your 
ministers;  ask  your  city  missionaries;  ask  General 
Booth.  Or,  if  you  suspect  these  of  bias,  consult 
the  works  of  Professor  William  James,  the  eminent 
psychologist,  or  Rider  Haggard,  the  eminent 

The  Captain  of  the  Ship  39 

novelist.  Professor  James,  in  his  masterpiece,  con- 
fessed that,  in  ways  altogether  beyond  psychological 
explanation,  the  activities  of  the  Church  have  again 
and  again  made  bad  men  good.  Spiritual  energies 
have  wrought  the  most  amazing  moral  transforma- 
tions. And  still  more  recently  Rider  Haggard  raises 
his  hat  in  reverence  before  the  astonishing  phe- 
nomenon of  conversion  as  he  has  seen  it  for  himself 
in  his  investigations  of  the  work  of  the  Salvation 
Army.  There  can  be  no  doubt  about  it.  The  un- 
seen world  is  the  triumphant  world.  The  spiritual 
is,  after  all,  the  sane  and  the  safe.  The  only  way  of 
avoiding  shipwreck  in  Church  and  in  State  is  clearly 
to  pay  good  heed  to  'the  things  spoken  by  Paul/ 



LIFE  has  a  wonderful  way  of  tapering  majestically 
to  its  climax.  It  narrows  itself  up  towards  its  su- 
premacies, like  a  mountain  rising  to  its  snow-capped 
summit  in  the  skies.  Our  supreme  interests  assert 
themselves  invincibly  at  the  last.  Our  master  pas- 
sions are  'in  at  the  death.'  Let  us  glance  at  a  pair 
of  extraordinarily  parallel  illustrations. 

Paul  is  awaiting  his  last  appearance  before  Nero. 
The  old  apostle  is  caught  and  caged  at  last. 
He  is  writing  his  very  last  letter.  He  expects,  if 
spared,  to  spend  the  winter  in  a  Roman  dungeon. 
'Do  your  very  best,'  he  says  to  Timothy,  'to  come 
to  me  before  winter.'  'And/  he  adds,  'the  cloke 
that  I  left  at  Troas  with  Carpus,  when  thou  comest, 
bring  with  thee,  and  the  books,  but  especially  the 
parchments' ! 

Under  circumstances  almost  exactly  similar  Paul's 
great  translator,  William  Tyndale,  was  lying  in  his 
damp  cell  at  Vilvorde  awaiting  the  fatal  stroke 


The  Supremacies  of  Life  41 

which  set  his  spirit  free  a  few  weeks  later.  And, 
as  in  Paul's  case,  winter  was  coming  on.  'Bring  me/ 
he  writes,  'a  warmer  cap,  something  to  patch  my 
leggings,  a  woollen  shirt,  and,  above  all,  my  Hebrew 
Bible' ! 

Especially  the  parchments! 

Above  all,  my  Hebrew  Bible! 

The  emphasis  is  upon  the  especially  and  upon  the 
above  all.  Paul  knows  how  isolated  he  will  feel  in 
his  horrid  cellar,  and  he  twice  begs  his  young  com- 
rade to  hurry  to  his  side.  He  knows  how  cold  he 
will  be,  and  he  pleads  for  his  cloke.  He  knows  how 
lonely  will  be  his  incarceration,  and  he  says,  'Bring 
the  books'!  Yet  he  feels  that,  after  all,  these  do 
not  represent  the  supremacies  of  life.  It  is  not  on 
these  that  he  is  prepared  to  make  his  final  stand. 
'But  especially  the  parchments' !  Much  as  he 
yearns  for  the  clasp  of  Timothy's  hand,  he  is  pre- 
pared, if  needs  be,  to  face  the  stern  future  alone. 
Much  as  he  longs  for  his  warm  tunic  to  shelter  his 
aged  limbs,  he  is  prepared,  if  needs  be,  to  sit  and 
shiver  the  long  winter  through.  Gladly  as  he  would 
revel  in  his  favourite  authors,  he  is  prepared,  if 
needs  be,  to  sit  counting  the  links  in  his  chain  and 
the  stones  in  the  wall.  But  the  parchments !  These 
are  life's  supreme,  essential,  indispensable  requisites. 
These  represent  life's  irreducible  minimum.  'Espe- 

42  The  Luggage  of  Life 

cially  the  parchments'!  'Above  all,  my  Hebrew 
Bible' !  These  are  the  supremacies  of  life. 

The  hero  of  romance  erects  a  pyramid  upon  its 
apex.  He  sets  out  in  life  with  one  or  two  friends. 
He  soon  multiplies  the  number.  He  counts  them, 
as  the  years  pass,  by  the  score  and  by  the  hundred. 
And  he  dies  at  last  in  the  possession  of  friendships 
which  can  be  numbered  by  the  thousand.  It  is  a 
false  note.  The  thing  is  untrue  to  experience.  'The 
first  true  gentleman  that  ever  breathed'  found  His 
path  thronged  with  friends  at  the  outset.  But,  as 
time  wore  on,  they  wore  off.  'Many  of  His  disciples 
went  back,  and  walked  no  more  with  Him/  Twelve 
remained,  such  as  they  were ;  but  even  that  remnant 
must  be  sifted,  and  of  the  twelve  a  selection  had 
to  be  made.  And  into  the  chamber  of  death,  and  up 
to  the  Mount  of  Transfiguration,  and  into  the  Gar- 
den of  Gethsemane  'Jesus  taketh  with  Him  Peter 
and  James  and  John.'  The  pyramid  is  narrowing 
up  towards  its  apex.  And  when  He  passes  from 
Gethsemane  to  Golgotha  John  alone  stands  by  the 
cross,  and  even  he  had  wavered.  'And  Jesus  said 
unto  John,  Son,  behold  thy  mother.'  It  had  tapered 
sharply  to  the  unit  at  last.  'Especially  John.' 

Sir  William  Robertson  Nicoll  has  a  story  of  an 
old  Scotsman  who  lay  a-dying.  His  little  room  was 
crowded  with  friends.  Presently  a  number  of  them 

The  Supremacies  of  Life  43" 

rose  and  quietly  left.  There  remained  his  old  wife, 
Jean,  and  the  trusted  companions  of  a  long  pilgrim- 
age. As  his  frame  became  more  feeble  and  his  eye 
more  dim  one  after  another  reverently  rose,  lifted 
the  worn  old  latch  silently,  and  left  the  room.  At 
last  the  old  man  pressed  the  withered  hand  in  which 
his  own  was  clasped,  and  whispered  faintly:  'They 
will  a'  gang :  you  will  stay !'  And  at  last  he  and  she 
were  the  sole  occupants  of  the  little  chamber. 
'Especially  Jean/  Which  things  are  an  allegory. 
The  pyramid  narrows  to  its  apex.  Life  contracts 
towards  its  supremacies.  'Especially  the  parch- 
ments'! 'I  have  hosts  of  friends,'  wrote  Lord 
Macaulay  in  one  of  his  beautiful  letters  to  his  sister, 
'but  not  more  than  half  a  dozen  the  news  of  whose 
death  would  spoil  my  breakfast.'  And  of  that  half- 
dozen  he  would  probably  at  a  later  stage  have  made 
a  selection.  Friendship  has  its  supremacies. 

The  same  is,  of  course,  true  of  our  libraries.  Like 
the  apostle,  we  are  all  fond  of  books ;  but  our  book- 
shelves dwindle  in  intensity  as  they  grow  in  ex- 
tensity.  As  life  goes  on  we  accumulate  more  and 
more  volumes,  but  we  set  more  and  more  store  on  a 
few  selected  classics  of  the  soul.  The  number  of 
those  favourites  diminishes  as  the  hair  bleaches. 
We  have  a  score ;  a  dozen ;  and  at  length  three.  And 
if  the  hair  gets  very  white,  we  find  the  three  too 

44  The  Luggage  of  Life 

many  by  two.  'Especially  the  parchments'!  Sir 
H.  M.  Stanley  set  out  upon  his  great  African  ex- 
ploration with  quite  a  formidable  library.  One  can- 
not march  eighteen  hours  a  day  under  an  equatorial 
sun,  and  he  gave  a  prudent  thought  to  the  long  en- 
campments, and  armed  himself  with  books.  But 
books  are  often  heavy — in  a  literal  as  well  as  in  a 
literary  sense.  And  one  by  one  his  native  servants 
deserted  him  (the  pyramid  towering  towards  its 
apex).  And,  as  a  consequence,  Stanley  was  com- 
pelled to  leave  one  treasured  set  of  volumes  at  this 
African  village,  and  another  at  that,  until  at  last  he 
had  but  two  books  left — Shakespeare  and  the  Bible. 
And  we  have  no  doubt  that,  had  Africa  been  a  still 
broader  continent  than  it  actually  is,  even  Shake- 
speare would  have  been  abandoned  to  gratify  the 
curiosity  of  some  astonished  Hottentots  or  pigmies. 
It  all  comes  back  to  that  pathetic  entry  in  Lockhart's 
diary  at  Abbots  ford :  'He  [Sir  Walter  Scott]  then 
desired  to  be  wheeled  through  his  rooms  in  the  bath- 
chair.  We  moved  him  leisurely  for  an  hour  or  more 
tip  and  down  the  hall  and  the  great  library.  "I  have 
seen  much,"  he  kept  saying,  "but  nothing  like  my 
ain  hoose — give  me  one  turn  more !"  Next  morning 
he  desired  to  be  drawn  into  the  library  and  placed  by 
the  central  window,  that  he  might  look  down  upon 
the  Tweed.  Here  he  expressed  a  wish  that  I  should 

The  Supremacies  of  Life  45 

read  to  him.  I  asked,  from  what  book.  He  said, 
"Need  you  ask?  There  is  but  one!"  I  chose  the 
fourteenth  chapter  of  St.  John's  Gospel.'  He  lis- 
tened with  mild  devotion,  and,  when  Lockhart  had 
finished  reading  of  the  Father's  house  and  the  many 
mansions,  he  said,  "That  is  a  great  comfort !'  The 
juxtaposition  of  phrases  is  arresting:  'In  the  great 
library' — 'there  is  but  one  book  I'  The  pyramid 
stood  squarely  upon  its  solid  foundation,  but  it 
towered  grandly  and  tapered  finely  towards  its  nar- 
row but  majestic  summit.  Come/  says  Paul  the 
Aged,  'for  I  am  lonely;  bring  the  cloke,  for  I  am 
old  and  cold ;  bring  the  books,  for  my  mind  is  hun- 
gry; but,  oh,  if  all  these  fail,  send  the  parchments!' 
Especially  the  parchments!  Life's  supremacies 
must  always  conquer  and  claim  their  own  at  the  last. 


BENEATH  cloudless  Italian  skies  Paul  is  painfully 
but  patiently  enduring,  in  a  stifling  cell,  the  suffocat- 
ing fervours  of  the  sultry  summer  days.  And,  with 
the  fierce  heat  at  its  insufferable  maximum,  he  casts 
a  prudent  thought  ahead  of  him,  and  contemplates 
the  severe  rigours  of  a  stern  Roman  winter.  'Do 
thy  best/  he  writes  to  Timothy,  'to  come  to  me  be- 
fore winter;  and  the  cloke  which  I  left  at  Troas 
bring  with  thee.'  Superficial  observers  have  often 
considered  these  personal  trivialities  beneath  the 
dignity  of  Scripture.  The  trifling  is  subjective;  it  is 
not  objective.  It  is  their  criticism  that  lacks  dignity. 
'Eyes  have  they,  but  they  see  not/  The  microscopic 
is  often  as  eloquent  and  as  revealing  as  the  majestic. 
Divinity  often  trembles  in  a  dewdrop.  A  trifling 
incident  may  reflect  a  tremendous  principle.  A 
psychologist  would  at  least  discover  in  the  story  of 
Paul  and  his  summer  call  for  his  winter  cloke  a  fine 
instance  of  the  amazing  detachment  of  which  the 


The  Prudentialities  of  Life  47 

human  mind  is  capable.  It  is  a  strange  and  wonder- 
ful thing  that  we  are  able,  amidst  summer  scenes,  to 
project  our  thoughts  so  realistically  into  the  coming 
cold  that  we  give  an  involuntary  shiver  and  cast  our 
eyes  over  our  wardrobes.  The  same  power,  of 
course,  enables  us  to  project  our  minds,  not  merely 
from  our  summer  cells  to  our  winter  wardrobes, 
but  from  our  own  summers  to  other  people's  winters. 
It  is  by  this  extraordinary  faculty  of  the  mind  that 
we  sympathize.  My  lady,  wrapped  snugly  in  rugs 
and  furs,  detaches  herself  from  herself,  and  projects 
herself  into  the  wretched  rags  of  her  sister  in  the 
slums.  No  one  can  read  Charles  Dickens  without 
feeling  that,  even  as  he  sat  in  his  comfortable  room 
and  wrote,  he  endured  all  the  agonies  of  the  poverty 
which  he  so  passionately  portrayed.  Mrs.  Harriet 
Beecher  Stowe  could  never  have  written  Uncle 
Tom's  Cabin  unless  she  had  first  projected  herself, 
in  uttermost  detachment  from  herself,  into  the 
anguish  of  Cassy  and  Eliza.  The  iron  entered  into 
her  own  soul  by  this  weird  and  awful  power  of  in- 
tellectual abandonment.  It  makes  even  loftier 
flights:  it  explores  moral  territories.  Lovers  of 
Oliver  Twist  will  remember  how  the  pure,  sweet 
girlhood  of  Rose  Maylie  came  into  touch  with  the 
soiled  soul  of  poor  Nancy,  and  for  one  awful  mo- 
ment the  mind  of  Rose  projected  itself  into  the  sins 

48  The  Luggage  of  Life 

and  sorrows  of  Nancy ;  and,  in  the  presence  of  that 
marvel,  Nancy  burst  into  tears.  'O,  lady,  lady!' 
she  cried,  clasping  her  hands  passionately  before  her 
face,  'if  there  were  more  like  you,  there  would  be 
fewer  like  me — there  would,  there  would!'  And, 
travelling  along  this  road,  we  should  soon  come  to 
that  culminating  example  of  mental  and  moral  de- 
tachment by  which  the  redemption  of  a  lost  world 
was  effected.  From  the  summer-time  of  His  glory 
and  holiness  He  detached  Himself  from  Himself — 
emptied  Himself — and  wept  with  us  in  the  winter  of 
our  raggedness  and  shame.  'He  had  compassion' ! 
The  ages  can  know  no  greater  miracle  or  mystery 
than  that. 

But  the  purely  psychological  phenomenon  pre- 
sented by  Paul's  summer  call  for  his  winter  cloke  has 
led  us  a  little  astray.  A  wayfaring  man  will  recog- 
nize it  as  an  illustration  of  the  prudentialities  of  life. 
Paul  anticipates  in  summer  the  demands  of  winter. 
Such  prudentialities  are  everywhere.  The  great 
mountain  heights  store  up  in  winter  their  millions 
upon  millions  of  tons  of  snow ;  and  when  early  sum- 
mer suns  have  dried  up  the  lower  springs,  and  when 
otherwise  the  plains  would  be  scorched  beneath  a 
pitiless  glare,  the  welcome  streams  come  flowing 
down  from  the  heights,  and  the  grateful  cattle 
quench  their  thirst.  In  the  same  way,  the  soft  green 

The  Prudentialities  of  Life  49 

mosses  along  the  banks  of  the  rivulet  saturate  them- 
selves with  moisture  like  sponges,  conserving  and 
protecting  it,  and  in  the  later  days  of  drought,  when 
else  the  bed  of  the  stream  would  be  dry,  they  release 
their  precious  burthen,  and  the  thirsty  bless  them. 
In  animate  creatures  the  faculty  is,  of  course,  much 
more  pronounced.  Everybody  knows  how  ants  and 
beetles  make  elaborate  preparations  for  days  as  yet 
far  ahead  of  them.  The  mice  and  the  squirrels 
make  hay  while  the  sun  shines,  and  lay  up  in  store 
against  frost  and  snow.  The  bee  provides  her 
honey  when  the  earth  is  gay  with  flowers  with  the 
intention  of  living  upon  her  hoard  when  no  blossoms 
are  to  be  seen.  We  remember  reading  in  Parkman's 
Conspiracy  of  Pontiac,  of  the  folly  of  the  Algonquin 
Indian  who,  'in  the  hour  of  plenty,  forgets  the  sea- 
son of  want,'  until,  'stiff  and  stark,  with  haggard 
cheek  and  shrivelled  lip,  he  lies  among  the  snow- 
drifts; till,  with  tooth  and  claw  the  famished  wild 
cat  strives  in  vain  to  pierce  the  frigid  marble  of  his 
limbs.'  There  is  a  more  excellent  way.  And  Paul, 
following  the  example  of  mice  and  squirrels  and 
bees,  thinks  of  winter  cold  while  as  yet  he  perspires 
beneath  summer  suns.  The  most  obvious  applica- 
tion of  the  principle  is,  naturally,  the  most  practical 
one.  Those  who  are  too  dense  to  catch  our  mean- 
ing had  better  inquire  for  an  interpretation  of  it  at 

50  The  Luggage  of  Life 

a  savings  bank,  a  building  society,  or  an  insurance 
office.  It  is  true,  of  course,  that,  concerning  many 
things,  to-morrow  must  not  obtrude  upon  to-day; 
but  the  future  has  its  certainties,  and  it  would  be 
both  impious  and  absurd  to  neglect  them.  Since  it 
is  certain  that  winter  must  follow  summer,  it  is 
certain  that  it  is  the  duty  of  Paul  to  arrange  for  his 
cloke.  A  man  must  provide  for  his  home  whilst  as 
yet  he  is  single ;  he  must  make  his  will  whilst  in  the 
best  of  health — the  applications  are  simply  innum- 
erable. But  the  truth  has  its  deeper  aspects.  In 
the  heyday  of  spiritual  prosperity  we  must  lay  up  in 
store  against  days  of  darkness  and  doubt.  In 
the  days  of  opened  heavens  and  answered  prayers 
let  us  record  the  experience  on  the  tablets  of  mem- 
ory, to  feed  upon  when  the  heavens  are  as  brass  and 
prayer  as  a  tinkling  cymbal.  'When  infidel  thoughts 
come  knocking  at  my  door/  wrote  good  old  Thomas 
!  Shepard,  'I  send  them  away  with  this  answer :  Why 
should  I  question  that  truth  which  I  have  both  seen 
'and  known  in  better  days?'  There  is  a  world  of 
sagacity  and  shrewdness  there ! 

It  was  an  awful  night  in  Scotland.  The  snow  was 
deep ;  the  wind  simply  shrieked  around  the  little  hut 
in  which  a  good  old  elder  lay  dying.  His  daughter 
brought  the  family  Bible  to  his  bedside. 

'Father/  she  said,  'will  I  read  a  chapter  to  ye  ?' 

The  Prudentialities  of  Life  51 

But  the  old  man  was  in  sore  pain,  and  only 
moaned.  She  opened  the  book. 

*Na,  na,  lassie,'  he  said,  'the  storm's  up  noo;  I 
theekit  [thatched]  my  hoose  in  the  calm  weather!' 

We  can  learn  no  loftier  philosophy  than  that  from 
the  story  of  Paul's  summer  call  for  his  winter  cloke. 
We  must  thatch  our  houses  in  the  calm  weather,  and, 
later  on,  smile  at  the  storm.  Life's  truest  pru- 
dentiality  lies  just  there ! 


are  living  in  a  very  wistful  world.  It  is  all  very 
well  to  say  that  people  are  irreligious,  callous,  in- 
different That  is  true ;  but  it  is  not  the  whole  of  the 
truth.  When  Mr.  H.  G.  Wells'  First  Men  in  the 
Moon  reached  their  lunar  destination  the  moon 
seemed  to  them  to  be  lifeless,  derelict,  desolate;  but 
when  they  probed  beneath  the  surface  they  found 
it  teeming  with  pulsing  life,  and  furious  thought, 
and  industrial  activity.  And  the  more  deeply  they 
penetrated  into  its  cavernous  tunnels  and  mysterious 
subways  the  more  populous  the  place  became. 
Which  is,  as  Mr.  Wells  very  possibly  meant  it  to  be, 
an  allegory.  It  is  when  we  look  with  superficial 
eyes  upon  the  world  that  we  are  pessimists.  When 
we  scratch  the  surface  we  begin  to  behold  the  truth. 
One  of  those  noble  and  graceful  Hebrew  metaphors 
which,  for  sheer  literary  beauty,  have  never  been 
surpassed,  reflects  most  perfectly  the  whole  position. 
'My  soul  doth  wait  for  the  Lord  more  than  they  that 
watch  for  the  morning;  I  say,  more  than  they  that 


The  Face  at  the  Window  53 

watch  for  the  morning/  The  image  is  one  of  ex- 
quisite tenderness  and  pathos.  The  night  is  long 
and  dreary,  and  the  tired  watchers  press  their  faces 
every  now  and  then  against  the  window-pane,  eager 
to  discover  beyond  the  rugged  ranges  some  grey 
glimmer  of  the  coming  dawn.  The  soul  of  many  a 
man  has  its  eastward  aspect.  There  are  great  num- 
bers who  dwell  in  chambers  like  that  in  which  Chris- 
tian was  lodged  in  the  Palace  Beautiful,  'whose 
window  opened  toward  the  sun-rising.'  The  soul  of 
the  psalmist  is  in  the  darkness,  but  his  face  is  to- 
wards the  dawn.  We  are  in  grave  peril,  in  our 
pessimistic  moods,  of  forgetting  the  face  at  the 
window.  It  is  the  essential  feature  in  the  present 
situation.  There  are  pilgrims  'asking  the  way  to 
Zion  with  their  faces  thitherward.' 

Let  my  meaning  mirror  itself  in  a  pair  of  illustra- 
tions. Here  are  two  such  faces  peering  wistfully 
out  from  the  dark. 

The  first  is  that  of  Frank  T.  Bullen.  In  With 
Christ  at  Sea,  he  says,  'Arriving  in  Sydney,  I  soon 
succeeded  in  getting  a  berth  as  lamp-trimmer  in  one 
of  the  coasting  steamers,  and  for  the  next  twelve 
months  made  a  pretty  complete  circuit  of  the  Aus- 
tralasian colonies,  living  on  the  best  of  everything, 
earning  good  wages,  learning  all  manner  of  things 
harmful  to  me,  but  never  by  any  chance  coming 

54  The  Luggage  of  Life 

across  any  one  who  was  Christianly  disposed,  and 
feeling  myself  less  and  less  anxious  to  seek  after 
God.  Often  I  would  stand  on  deck,  when  anchored 
in  Sydney  Harbour  on  Sunday  morning,  and  listen 
to  the  church  bells  playing  'Sicilian  Mariners,'  with 
a  dull  ache  at  my  heart,  a  deep  longing  for  some- 
thing, I  knew  not  what.'  Thus  ends  the  quotation; 
but  the  tragic  fact  is  that  there  were  excellent  peo- 
ple, with  Bibles  and  hymn-books,  passing  along  the 
quay  on  the  way  to  church,  who  glanced  at  the  grimy 
young  lamp-trimmer  and  thought  him  irreligious, 
callous,  and  indifferent!  They  failed  to  see  the 
wistful  face  at  the  window. 

The  other  occurs  in  the  memoir  of  Dr.  H.  Grattan 
Guinness.  On  one  of  the  earliest  pages  we  read: 
'Never  shall  I  forget  one  evening,  when  the  ship  was 
anchored  in  a  calm  off  Lowestoft,  near  Yarmouth, 
looking  at  the  sun  slowly  setting  in  the  west  over  the 
peaceful  scene,  the  outline  of  a  church  spire  rising 
among  trees  showing  distinctly  against  the  glowing 
sky.  I  was  longing  unutterably  to  be  permitted  to 
dwell  in  some  quiet  spot  where,  out  of  the  reach  of 
evil  society  and  the  voice  of  blasphemy,  I  might 
worship  God  and  walk  with  Him  in  unhindered 

'Longing  unutterably !'  'More  than  they  that  watch 
for  the  morning.'  That  is  it ! 

The  Face  at  the  Window  55 

The  fact  is  that  we  are  too  superficial.  We  glance 
at  a  man  and  at  once  tie  an  imaginary  label  round 
his  neck.  We  classify  him  as  a  Christian,  or  as  a 
heretic,  or  as  a  sceptic,  or  as  a  backslider;  and  we 
think  that  that  settles  it.  But  our  work  of  classifi- 
cation is  very  much  more  complicated  than  we  think. 
We  forget  that  a  saint  and  a  sceptic  can  dwell  to- 
gether in  the  same  skin.  Lord,  I  believe — there  you 
have  the  saint!  Help  Thou  mine  unbelief — there 
you  have  the  sceptic!  The  prophets  loved  to  talk 
of  a  time  when  the  wolf  should  lie  down  with  the 
lamb;  but  in  many  a  heart  the  wolf  and  the  lamb 
dwell  together  even  now.  Great  wickedness  and 
great  wist  fulness  often  lodge  in  the  self -same  heart. 
The  room  may  be  very  dark  indeed,  but  the  face 
is  at  the  window  looking  towards  the  light.  We  are 
slow  to  learn  the  lesson  that  Robert  Louis  Stevenson 
tried  to  teach  us  in  his  allegory  of  Dr.  Jekyll  and 
Mr.  Hyde.  As  the  years  go  by  we  learn  to  econo- 
mize our  labels. 

Dr.  Campbell  Morgan  was  recently  asked  by  an 
interviewer  for  his  view  of  the  spiritual  condition 
of  London.  'On  the  one  hand/  he  replied,  'I  see 
evidence  of  awful  indifference,  but  on  the  other  I 
see  remarkable  wistf  ulness.  I  find  that,  when  I  get 
into  touch  with  the  most  indifferent  men,  there  is 
a  great  wist  fulness  that  was  absent  a  few  years  ago. 

56  The  Luggage  of  Life 

The  man  who  then  told  me  that  he  was  an  agnostic 
still  says  that  he  is  an  agnostic,  but  he  adds  now 
that  he  dearly  wishes  he  could  believe  as  I  do.'  That 
testimony  is  significant.  It  means  that  the  men  who 
sit  in  thick  darkness  are  moving  towards  the  window 
and  longing  for  the  dawn. 

Dr.  Douglas  Adam  has  told  us  a  striking  story  of 
Professor  Huxley.  'A  friend  of  mine,'  says  Dr. 
Adam,  'was  acting  on  a  Royal  Commission  of  which 
Professor  Huxley  was  a  member.  One  Sunday  he 
and  the  great  scientist  were  staying  in  a  little  coun- 
try town.  "I  suppose  you  are  going  to  church,"  said 
Huxley.  "Yes,"  replied  the  friend.  "What  if,  in- 
stead, you  stayed  at  home  and  talked  to  me  of  your 
religion  ?"  "No,"  was  the  reply,  "for  I  am  not  clever 
enough  to  refute  your  arguments."  "But  what  if 
you  simply  told  me  of  your  own  experience — what 
religion  has  done  for  you?"  My  friend  did  not  go 
to  church  that  morning.  He  stayed  at  home  and  told 
Huxley  the  story  of  all  that  Christ  had  been  to  him. 
And  presently  there  were  tears  in  the  eyes  of  the 
great  agnostic  as  he  said,  "I  would  give  my  right 
hand  if  I  could  believe  that!"  Huxley's  face  was 
at  the  window,  in  spite  of  everything. 

But,  of  course,  the  peerless  illustration  of  our 
point  is  the  infinitely  pathetic  case  of  Professor 
Sidgwick.  Has  any  minister  ever  read  that  life- 

The  Face  at  the  Window  57 

story  with  dry  eyes?  If  so,  we  are  sorry  for  his 
congregation.  To  enter  into  the  cheerless  realm  of 
Sidgwick's  scepticism  is  a  more  chilling  experience 
than  to  penetrate  polar  solitudes.  And  yet  no  one 
can  read  that  throbbing  story  without  seeing  a  tear- 
stained  face  at  the  window.  Long  and  wistfully 
the  brilliant  doctor  strained  his  eyes,  looking  east- 
ward, but  saw  not  the  roseate  flush  of  the  dawn. 
He  felt,  through  it  all,  that  his  doubt  was  his  shame ; 
and  his  soul  ached  for  faith.  He  literally  longed 
for  the  light  'more  than  they  that  watch  for  the 
morning;  I  say,  more  than  they  that  watch  for  the 
morning.'  There  was  unbelief  in  his  brain,  but  a 
wonderful  wistfulness  shone  in  his  yearning  eyes. 
Beneath  his  intellectual  uncertainties  he  carried  a 
pitifully  hungry  heart.  Others  such  as  Mill  and 
Tyndall,  Professor  Clifford  and  Viscount  Amberley 
might,  of  course,  easily  be  cited  to  swell  this  cloud 
of  witnesses ;  but  there  is  no  need. 

Let  us,  however,  before  laying  aside  the  pen,  cross 
the  ocean  in  order  to  inquire  whether  this  strange 
and  wistful  craving  is  confined  to  grimy  lamp-trim- 
mers like  Frank  Bullen,  and  to  brilliant  University 
professors  like  Henry  Sidgwick;  or  is  it  to  be  dis- 
covered also  in  the  regions  beyond?  And  so  soon 
as  we  step  ashore  it  becomes  manifest  that,  without 
an  exception,  the  peoples  who  sit  in  darkness  have, 

$8  The  Luggage  of  Life 

nevertheless,  their  faces  to  the  window.  In  every 
land  'there  be  many  that  say,  Who  will  show  us  any 
good?'  On  continents  and.  on  islands  blind  souls 
are  everywhere  groping  after  the  light.  It  must  be 
so.  If,  as  Principal  Iverach  argues  in  his  Christian 
Message,  the  Founder  of  Christianity  be  in  very 
deed  the  Son  of  God,  it  is  inconceivable  that  the  hu- 
man heart  can  find  its  home  in  Mohammedanism  or 
Buddhism.  Only  recently  a  great  All-India  Con- 
vention of  Religions  was  held  at  Allahabad.  Hin- 
duism, Islamism,  Jainism,  Zoroastrianism,  Judaism, 
and  Theosophy  were  all  strongly  represented.  But  it 
was  agreed,  by  general  consent,  that  the  only  mes- 
sage that  'struck  warm'  was  the  witness  of  the 
Indian  Christians  to  the  love  and  power  of  Christ. 
To  that  testimony  a  sympathetic  chord  of  response 
vibrated  in  all  hearts.  And,  at  the  close  of  the  Con- 
vention, the  Hindu  secretary  exclaimed,  'The  one 
thing  we  could  not  have  dispensed  with  was  the 
Christian  contribution!'  It  was  like  a  streak  of 
dawn  streaming  in  upon  the  tired  watchers  of  the 
night.  'The  Lady  of  the  Decoration'  tells  us  that 
she  saw  in  Japan  'a  wist  fulness  that  I  have  never 
seen  anywhere  else,  except  in  the  eyes  of  a  dog.' 
The  letters  of  our  missionaries  on  every  field  often 
remind  us  of  that  unforgettable  cartoon  which  ap- 
peared in  Punch  in  the  dark  days  of  1885.  It  repre- 

The  Face  at  the  Window  59 

sented  General  Gordon  on  the  roof  of  his  palace 
at  Khartoum,  shading  his  eager  eyes  with  his  hand 
and  gazing  with  a  look  of  unutterable  wistfulness 
towards  the  sandy  horizon,  watching  for  that  reliev- 
ing column  that  ultimately  came  too  late.  He  waited 
for  their  coming  more  than  they  that  watch  for  the 
morning.  So  do  the  nations. 

Sudden,  before  my  inward  open  vision, 
Millions  of  faces  crowded  up  to  view, 

Sad  eyes  that  said:  'For  us  is  no  provision, 
Give  us  your  Saviour,  too! 

'Give  us,'  they  cry,  'your  cup  of  consolation ; 

Never  to  our  outreaching  hands  'tis  passed; 
We  long  for  the  Desire  of  every  nation, 

And,  oh,  we  die  so  fast!' 

These  are  the  faces  at  the  window.  When  little 
Bilney  made  his  historic  confession  to  Hugh 
Latimer,  which  lit  that  candle  in  England  that  has 
never  been  put  out,  an  image  akin  to  this  haunted 
his  imagination.  'Oh,  Father  Latimer/  he  said, 
'prithee,  hear  me:  when  I  read  in  the  Latin  Testa- 
ment of  the  great  Erasmus  these  strange  words — 
"Christ  Jesus  came  into  the  world  to  save  sinners," 
it  was  with  me  as  though  in  the  midst  of  a  dark 
night,  day  suddenly  broke !'  That  is  the  daybreak 
for  which  the  faces  watch  at  the  windows  of  the 

60  The  Luggage  of  Life 

world  'more  than  they  that  watch  for  the  morning ; 
I  say,  more  than  they  that  watch  for  the  morning.' 
The  exquisite  winsomeness  of  the  Christian  evangel 
and  the  wondrous  wist  fulness  of  a  waiting  world 
are  the  two  strong  pillars  on  which  we  build  our 
serene  confidence  in  the  day  after  to-morrow. 



I  WAS  enjoying  the  rare  blessedness  of  an  evening 
free  from  engagements.  I  was  revelling  in  the 
luxury  of  a  glorious  arm-chair,  a  blazing  fire,  and  a 
fascinating  book.  The  children  were  seated  at  the 
table  behind  me,  absorbed  in  the  desperate  hazards 
of  the  game  that  lay  between  them.  The  only  noise 
was  the  rustle  of  the  leaves  of  my  book.  But  at 
length  the  silence  was  broken.  'You  can't  do  that !' 
I  heard  one  of  the  players  cry,  'there  are  no  back 
moves !'  I  read  on;  but  had  not  gone  far  when  I 
came  upon  this  sentence:  'The  unseen  opponent  in 
the  great  game  of  life,  while  scrupulously  fair,  will 
allow  no  back  moves,  and  makes  us  pay  in  full  for 
every  blunder.'  The  words,  of  course,  are  Huxley's. 
I  wonder  if  he  is  right !  I  am  not  at  all  sure  that  he 
has  spoken  the  last  word. 

So  many  men  find  their  lives  entangled,  prej- 
udiced, compromised,  that  unless  you  can  promise 
them  something  in  the  nature  of  a  back  move  the 
most  you  can  offer  seems  so  paltry  and  small.  Go  to 


62  The  Luggage  of  Life 

an  almshouse,  for  example,  and  the  eld  people  will 
remind  you  that  you  can't  give  them  their  lives  over 
again.  Visit  a  jail,  and,  in  some  form  or  other,  the 
terrible  question  will  present  itself  in  every  cell: 
'Can  I  begin  again  at  the  point  at  which  I  went 
astray?'  Talk  to  a  man  who  is  in  the  grip  of  the 
drink  fiend.  He  does  not  doubt  for  a  moment  the 
willingness  of  God  to  forgive.  He  is  even  inclined 
to  think  it  possible  that  the  power  of  God  might  be 
able  to  keep  him  from  the  dreadful  snare.  But  see 
the  stain  on  his  life!  He  thinks  with  unspeakable 
horror  of  his  tarnished  name,  his  humiliated  wife, 
his  trembling  hand.  Have  you  nothing  to  say  to  him 
about  a  fresh  start,  a  clean  sheet,  a  back  move?  If 
not,  you  will  lose  him  in  spite  of  everything. 

Now  I  imagine  that  most  of  us  have  passed 
through  three  distinct  phases  of  thought  on  this  sub- 
ject. I  confess  that  I  have.  They  are  three  in- 
evitable stages  of  development.  First  of  all,  there 
was  the  period  at  which  we  assured  men,  with  the 
most  sublime  confidence,  that  their  sins,  like  a  dark 
cloud,  could  be  blotted  from  the  face  of  the  sky  and 
wiped  into  oblivion.  The  ugly  stain,  we  told  them, 
could  be  perfectly  and  eternally  erased.  We 
boasted,  in  our  fine  evangelistic  fervour,  that  a 
sinner  might  not  only  be  pardoned,  but  be  justified. 
For  a  sinful  man  to  be  justified,  we  elaborately  ex- 

Back  Moves  63 

plained,  was  for  a  wicked  man  to  be  made  as  though 
he  had  never  been  wicked  at  all.  Sin  is  not  only 
forgiven;  it  is  annihilated,  cast  behind  God's  back, 
hurled  into  the  depths  of  the  sea.  Salvation,  under 
that  first  interpretation,  was  nothing  less  than  a 
magnificent  back  move. 

Then  came  doubts,  suspicions,  and  the  second 
phase.  We  found  it  was  not  all  so  simple  as  we 
thought.  The  jail-bird  is  converted;  but  who  will 
trust  him?  The  old  record  is  so  damning!  The 
drunkard  kneels  in  a  tempest  of  tears  at  the  penitent- 
form;  but  the  bloated  face,  and  the  palsied  hand,  and 
— worse  still — the  awful  craving  are  there  still.  We 
recalled  John  B.  Cough's  bitter,  bitter  cry:  'The 
scars  remain!'  he  lamented,  'scars  never  to  be 
eradicated,  never  to  be  removed  in  this  life.  I  have 
been  plucked  like  a  brand  from  the  burning;  but  the 
scar  of  the  fire  is  on  me !'  And  George  Mac  Donald 
emphasizes,  with  a  very  tender  but  a  very  telling 
touch,  another  aspect  of  the  same  problem.  The 
passage  occurs  in  Wilfrid  Cumbermede.  'Do  you 
know,  Wilfrid,  I  once  shot  a  little  bird — for  no  good, 
but  just  to  shoot  at  something.  I  knew  it  was 
wrong,  yet  I  drew  the  trigger.  It  dropped,  a  heap 
of  ruffled  feathers.  I  shall  never  get  that  little  bird 
out  of  my  head.  And  the  worst  of  it  is  that,  to  all 
eternity  I  can  never  make  any  atonement.'  'But 

64  The  Luggage  of  Life 

God  will  forgive  you,  Charley!'  'What  do  I  care 
for  that/  he  rejoined  almost  fiercely,  'when  the  little 
bird  cannot  forgive  me?'  Yes,  there  is  just  that 
element  in  life  that  makes  back  moves  very  difficult. 
And,  unhappily,  the  wreckage  men  have  wrought 
is  not  always  confined  to  a  heap  of  ruffled  feathers. 
What  if,  whilst  Heaven  absolves,  earth  finds  it  hard 
to  entertain  kind  thoughts  of  us?  What  if,  instead 
of  little  birds,  our  own  flesh  and  blood  rise  up  in 
judgment  against  us?  There  is,  undoubtedly,  a 
good  deal  to  give  pause  to  our  early  theology;  a 
good  deal  to  enforce  the  cheerless  philosophy  of 
Omar  Khayyam: 

The  Moving  Finger  writes ;  and,  having  writ, 
Moves  on:  nor  all  your  piety  nor  wit 

Shall  lure  it  back  to  cancel  half  a  line, 
Nor  all  your  tears  wash  out  a  word  of  it. 

We  abode  among  these  sombre  thoughts  for  many 
years,  and  fancied  that  we  had  reached  finality.  We 
pitched  our  tent  in  this  dismal  wilderness  and  re- 
garded it  as  home.  We  foolishly  imagined  that  this 
was  the  last  phase,  and  that  there  was  no  more  to 
be  said.  And  when  the  felon  looked  eagerly  up  into 
our  eyes,  as  he  sat  in  his  lonely  cell,  and  asked  about 
the  new  start,  the  clean  sheet,  the  back  move,  we 
were  dumb. 

Back  Moves  65 

Then  came  emancipation,  and  the  third  phase. 
And,  as  usual,  the  Bible  brought  it.  We  were  brows- 
ing among  the  prophecies ;  we  came  upon  Jeremiah's 
story  of  the  potter.  'Then  I  went  down  to  the 
potter's  house,  and,  behold,  he  wrought  a  work  on 
the  wheels.  And  the  vessel  that  he  made  of  clay 
was  marred  in  the  hand  of  the  potter:  so  he  made 
it  again  another  vessel,  as  seemed  good  to  the  potter 
to  make  it.  Then  the  word  of  the  Lord  came  to  me 
saying,  O  house  of  Israel,  cannot  I  do  with  you  as 
this  potter?  saith  the  Lord.'  He  made  it  again! 
That  is  surely  as  near  to  a  back  move  as  it  is  possible 
to  get !  I  remember  hearing  the  Rev.  F.  B.  Meyer 
tell  of  a  woman  who,  on  her  way  to  commit  suicide, 
heard  the  singing  in  Christ  Church,  Westminster, 
and  stole  into  the  porch.  She  was  only  a  poor, 
soiled,  broken  bit  of  London's  outcast  womanhood. 
It  happened  that  Mr.  Meyer  preached  on  the  story 
of  the  potter,  the  vessel  marred  and  remade. 
There  was  no  further  thought  of  suicide.  She  was 
charmed  at  the  prospect  of  a  back  move.  Surely 
when  Jesus  talked  to  Nicodemus  of  being  'born 
again/  He  was  promising  a  back  move ! 

Then,  too,  in  turning  over  these  ancient  proph- 
ecies, I  came  to  Joel.  Everybody  knows  that  the 
entire  prophecy  of  Joel  was  suggested  by  the  his- 
toric and  unprecedented  plague  of  locusts  which  had 

66  The  Luggage  of  Life 

just  devastated  the  entire  land.  The  very  sun  was 
darkened,  the  fields  and  vineyards  were  a  howling 
wilderness,  business  in  the  city  was  paralysed; 
even  the  sacrifices  in  the  Temple  were  suspended. 
In  the  midst  of  this  awful  visitation,  this  fearful 
scourge,  this  national  calamity,  the  prophet  was 
commanded  to  cry :  'Fear  not,  O  land ;  be  glad  and 
rejoice:  for  the  Lord  will  do  great  things.  I  will 
restore  to  you  the  years  that  the  locust  hath  eaten.' 
And  the  promise,  royally  given,  was  royally  fulfilled. 
The  sun  was  once  more  shining  out  of  a  clear  sky. 
The  vines  were  bowing  beneath  the  burden  of 
wealthy  and  luscious  clusters.  The  hills,  with  rich, 
delicious  grass  for  the  cattle,  were  as  green  as 
emerald.  The  valleys  laughed  and  sang  with  their 
golden  crops  of  corn.  The  city  was  humming  with 
commercial  prosperity.  And,  to  crown  all,  the 
temple  was  once  again  crowded  with  devout  wor- 
shippers. The  years  that  the  locust  had  eaten  were 
all  fully  restored. 

Now  if  only  I  could  go  to  that  felon's  cell,  to 
that  drunkard's  home,  and  to  a  hundred  other  places 
that  occur  to  me,  with  a  message  like  that!  'I 
will  restore  to  you  the  years  that  the  locust  hath 
eaten!'  That  would  be  grand!  That  would  be  a 
gospel  of  back  moves  with  a  vengeance!  And  may 
I  not?  Now  let  me  think! 

Back  Moves  67 

How  was  the  promise  fulfilled?  How  did  the 
Most  High  restore  the  years  that  the  locust  had 
eaten?  It  is  very  simple.  What  the  locusts  took, 
they  took;  and  there  was  no  return.  But  the  next 
year?  Why,  the  next  year  the  hills  and  valleys  of 
Palestine  were  such  a  scene  of  abundant  harvest 
and  prodigal  growth  that  the  people  were  fully 
compensated  for  the  loss  of  the  previous  season. 
Now,  as  the  children  say,  we  are  getting  warm ! 

Have  we  never  known  a  life  that,  in  its  later 
years,  displayed  a  sweetness  and  a  purity  and  a 
grace  which  were  the  direct  outcome  of  earlier 
suffering  or  of  earlier  sin?  Can  we  not  recall  the 
memory  of  saintly  and  fruitful  lives  in  which  both 
the  sanctity  and  the  fruitfulness  were  the  natural 
result  of  hideous  memories  of  former  transgres- 
sion? It  was  the  haunting  nightmare  of  their  old 
sins  that  drove  both  Bunyan  and  Newton  to  such 
intense  personal  piety  and  to  such  fervent  evangel- 
istic zeal.  We  have  all  known  men  who,  in  days 
gone  by,  lived  in  open  and  notorious  shame.  Then 
came  the  change.  Their  faith  was  a  pattern  to  us 
all  in  its  exquisite  and  childlike  simplicity.  The 
very  enormity  of  their  transgressions  made  religion 
a  revelry  to  them  and  the  thought  of  pardon  a  per- 
petual luxury.  Their  faces  were  radiant.  They 
never  referred  to  their  experiences  but  with  stream- 

68  The  Luggage  of  Life 

ing  eyes  and  faltering  voices.  Their  testimony  was 
so  impressive  as  to  carry  conviction  to  all  who  heard 
it.  And  as  we  saw  how  strong  men  were  moved  by 
their  utterance  we  felt  that  God,  in  His  own  wise 
and  wonderful  way,  was  restoring  to  them  the  years 
that  the  locust  had  eaten.  In  the  familiar  lines  of 
Hezekiah  Butterworth  there  are  two  significant  buts, 
and  we  are  in  danger  of  noticing  only  the  one : 

But  the  bird  with  the  broken  pinion 
Never  soared  so  high  again. 

This  is  the  first.  That  is  the  truth  that  Huxley  saw. 
But  it  is  not  the  whole  truth.  There  is  another 

But  the  bird  with  the  broken  pinion 

Kept  another  from  the  snare, 
And  the  life  that  sin  had  stricken 

Raised  another  from  despair. 
Each  loss  has  its  compensations, 

There  is  healing  for  every  pain; 
Though  the  bird  with  the  broken  pinion 

Never  soars  so  high  again. 

And,  surely,  surely,  to  'save  another  from  the  snare,' 
or  to  'raise  another  from  despair'  is  the  very  best  of 
back  movesl  'I  do  not  regret  the  past,'  cried  the 
'Lady  of  the  Decoration,'  at  the  close  of  her  story, 
'for  through  it  the  present  is.  All  the  loneliness,  the 

Back  Moves  69 

heartaches,  and  the  pains  are  justified  now!  I 
believe  that,  whilst  I  have  been  struggling  out  here 
in  Japan,  God  has  restored  to  me  the  years  that  the 
locust  had  eaten,  and  that  I  shall  be  permitted  to 
return  to  a  new  life,  a  life  given  back  by  God!' 
Who  shall  say  that  life  has  no  back  moves  after 



WHILST  the  fire  crackled  cheerily  between  them  two 
friends  of  mine  discussed  a  knotty  point.  The  ques- 
tion under  debate  was,  briefly,  this:  Which  is  the 
most  trying  part  of  a  long  journey?  One  argued 
for  the  initial  steps  on  setting  out.  The  weary  road, 
he  said,  stretches  out  interminably  before  you. 
Every  stick  and  stone  seems  to  be  shouting  at  you  to 
turn  back  and  to  take  your  ease.  His  friend,  on 
the  other  side  of  the  hearth,  thought  quite  differ- 
ently. He  contended  stoutly  for  the  final  stage  of 
the  pilgrimage.  He  vividly  pictured  the  exhausted 
pedestrian  at  the  end  of  his  journey,  scarcely  able 
to  drag  one  blistered  and  bleeding  foot  in  front  of 
the  other.  It  is  certainly  rather  a  fine  point;  but, 
after  all,  it  was  really  not  worth  discussing,  for 
nothing  is  more  absolutely  clear  than  that  they  were 
both  wrong.  Which,  of  course,  is  the  usual  fate  of 

Now  the  worst  part  of  a  journey  is  neither  at  its 
beginning  nor  at  its  close.     There  is  a  certain  in- 


The  Tireless  Trudge  71 

describable  exhilaration  arising  from  the  making  of 
the  effort  which  imparts  elasticity  to  the  muscles  and 
courage  to  the  mind,  at  starting.  The  road  seems 
to  dare  and  challenge  the  pilgrim,  and  he  swings  off 
along  the  taunting  trail  with  a  keen  relish  and  a 
buoyant  stride.  And,  at  the  other  end,  the  twinkling 
lights  of  the  city  that  he  seeks  help  him  to  forget 
that  he  is  footsore  and  choked  with  the  dust  of  the 
road.  His  blood  tingles  with  the  triumph  of  his 
achievement  and  the  delight  of  nearing  his  goal. 
But  there  is  another  stage  concerning  which  neither 
of  my  friends  had  a  word  to  say.  What  of  the 
intermediate  stage?  What  of  the  long  and  lonely 
tramp?  What  of  the  hours  through  which  no 
applauding  voices  from  behind  can  encourage  and 
no  familiar  fingers  from  before  can  beckon?  This, 
surely,  is  the  worst  part  of  the  way!  There  is  no 
intellectual  stimulant  so  intoxicating  as  the  forma- 
tion of  a  noble  purpose,  the  conception  of  a  sudden 
resolve,  the  making  of  a  great  decision.  And,  in  the 
luxurious  revelry  of  that  stimulus  the  prodigal  finds 
it  easy  to  rise  from  the  degradations  of  the  far  coun- 
try and  to  fling  himself  with  a  will  along  the  great 
Phoenician  road.  And  at  the  other  end!  Surely 
the  most  overpowering  of  all  human  instincts  and 
emotions  is  that  which  holds  captive  every  nerve  at 
the  dear  sight  of  home!  No;  neither  the  first  nor 

72  The  Luggage  of  Life 

the  last  steps  of  that  familiar  journey  were  very 
hard  to  take.  But  between  the  one  and  the  other ! 
What  questionings  and  forebodings !  What  haltings 
and  backward  glances!  What  doubts  and  fears! 
Yes,  there  can  be  no  doubt  about  it,  both  my  friends 
were  wrong. 

It  is  the  intermediate  stage  that  tests  the  mettle  of 
the  man.  It  is  the  long,  fatiguing  trudge  out  of 
sight  of  both  starting-point  and  destination  that 
puts  the  heaviest  strain  on  heart  and  brain.  That 
is  precisely  what  Isaiah  meant  in  the  best  known  and 
most  quoted  of  all  his  prophecies.  He  promises 
that,  on  the  return  from  Babylon  to  Jerusalem, 
'they  that  wait  upon  the  Lord  shall  renew  their 
strength ;  they  shall  mount  up  with  wings  as  eagles ; 
they  shall  run,  and  not  be  weary;  and  they  shall 
walk,  and  not  faint/  Israel  is  to  be  released  at  last 
from  her  long  captivity.  Imagine  the  departure 
from  Babylon — its  fond  anticipations,  its  rapturous 
ecstasies,  its  delirious  transports !  Those  first  steps 
of  the  journey  were  not  trying;  they  were  more 
like  flying.  The  delighted  people  walked  with 
winged  feet.  And  the  last  steps — with  Jerusalem 
actually  in  sight,  the  pilgrims  actually  climbing  the 
mountains  that  surrounded  the  holy  and  beautiful 
city — what  rush  of  noble  and  tender  emotions  would 
expel  and  banish  all  thought  of  weariness!  But 

The  Tireless  Trudge  73 

Isaiah  is  thinking  of  the  long,  long  tramp  between 
— the  drag  across  the  desert,  and  the  march  all  void 
of  music.  It  is  with  this  terrible  test  in  mind  that 
he  utters  his  heartening  promise:  'They  shall  walk 
and  not  faint.'  They  would  fly,  as  on  wings  of 
eagles,  out  of  Babylon  at  the  beginning;  they  would 
run,  forgetful  of  fatigue,  into  Jerusalem  at  the 
end;  but  they  should  walk  and  not  faint.  That  is 
life's  crowning  comfort.  The  very  climax  of  divine 
grace  is  the  grace  that  nerves  us  for  the  least 
romantic  stage  of  the  journey.  Farewells  and  wel- 
comes, departures  and  arrivals,  have  adjusting  com- 
pensations peculiar  to  themselves ;  but  it  is  the  glory 
of  the  gospel  that  it  has  something  to  say  to  the 
lonely  traveller  on  the  dusty  tract.  Religion  draws 
nearer  when  romance  deserts.  Grace  holds  on  when 
the  gilt  wears  off. 

Two  cases  come  to  mind.  I  know  a  man  whose 
whole  delight  was  in  his  boy — a  little  fellow  of  six 
or  so.  Then,  suddenly,  like  lamps  blown  out  by  a 
sudden  gust,  the  lad's  eyes  failed  him,  and  he  was 
blind.  The  father  was  the  recipient  of  scores  of 
touchingly  sympathetic  letters.  All  sorts  of  people 
called.  Kindly  references  were  made  in  press  and 
pulpit.  The  man  had  no  idea  until  that  moment  that 
he  had  so  many  friends.  All  the  world  seemed  to 
be  paying  homage  to  his  sorrow.  That  was  the  be- 

74  The  Luggage  of  Life 

ginning.  After  many  years  the  boy  had  been  taught 
to  interpret  the  world  again  by  means  of  his  remain- 
ing senses.  There  was  nothing  he  could  not  do.  He 
earned  his  own  living,  and  his  sightlessness  seemed 
no  real  hindrance  to  him.  That  was  the  end.  But 
the  father  told  me  that  the  strain  of  it  all  came 
between  these  two.  There  came  a  time  when  the 
postman  brought  no  cheering  letters.  Friends 
uttered  no  heartening  words.  The  world  had  trans- 
ferred his  boy's  blindness  into  the  realm  of  the  nor- 
mal and  the  commonplace.  Nobody  noticed.  But 
in  the  home  the  little  fellow  staggered  about,  and 
his  parents'  hearts  ached  for  him.  What  was  to 
become  of  him?  It  was  during  those  intervening 
years  lying  between  the  first  crushing  blow  and  the 
final  relief  that  the  real  strain  came.  That  was  by 
far  the  worst  stretch  of  the  road. 

I  knew  a  woman.  Without  a  moment's  warning 
she  was  plunged  into  widowhood,  and  left  to  battle 
for  her  five  little  children  and  herself.  There  was 
an  extraordinary  outburst  of  affectionate  sympathy 
on  the  part  of  all  who  knew  her.  Then  came  the 
funeral.  After  that  the  world  went  on  its  way  again 
as  though  nothing  had  happened.  That  was  the 
beginning.  After  the  years,  the  battle  had  been 
well  fought  and  well  won.  The  children  had  been 
clothed,  educated,  and  placed  in  positions  of  useful- 

The  Tireless  Trudge  75 

ness  and  honour.  That  was  the  end.  But  my 
widowed  friend  told  me  that  she  did  not  forget 
when  the  world  forgot.  Every  morning  her  grief 
woke  up  with  her.  And  every  night  it  followed  her 
to  her  rest.  Every  day,  as  she  struggled  for  her 
little  ones,  the  haunting  question  tortured  her: 
What  would  become  of  them  if  sickness  or  death 
seized  upon  her?  That  was  the  killing  time.  That 
intermediate  stretch  was  the  worst  part  of  the 
desolate  way. 

As  it  is  with  individuals,  so  it  is  with  great  causes. 
A  crusade  is  launched  amidst  vituperation,  derision, 
and  execration.  And  there  is  enough  fight  in  most 
of  us  to  lend  a  certain  enjoyment  to  the  very  bitter- 
ness of  antagonism.  And  at  last  the  self -same 
movement  is  crowned  with  triumph.  But  the  real 
inwardness  of  the  struggle  lies  midway.  William 
Wilber  force  used  to  say  that  he  was  less  dismayed 
by  the  storm  that  broke  upon  him  when  first  he 
pleaded  the  cause  of  the  slave  than  by  the  'long  lull' 
that  followed  when  the  country  accepted  his  prin- 
ciples, but  did  nothing  to  hasten  their  realization. 
In  America  the  same  thing  happened.  The  war 
against  slavery  was  undertaken  with  a  light  heart. 
Young  men  sprang  to  the  front  in  thousands  with 
the  refrain  of  'J^lm  Brown's  body'  on  their  lips. 
But  the  real  struggle  was  not  then,  nor  towards  the 

76  The  Luggage  of  Life 

close,  when  victory  and  emancipation  were  in  sight. 
But  who  can  forget  the  long  agony  of  disaster  that 
intervened  between  those  two?  It  was  when  the 
nation  was  trudging  tearfully  along  that  blood- 
marked  track  that  the  real  suffering  took  place. 
The  same  experience  repeats  itself  in  the  history  of 
every  great  reform.  Some  one  has  said  that  every 
movement  has  its  bow-wow  stage,  its  pooh-pooh 
stage,  and  its  hear-hear  stage.  Of  those  three 
phases  the  central  one  is  infinitely  the  most  diffi- 
cult to  negotiate.  Between  the  howl  of  execration 
that  greets  the  suggestion  of  a  reform  and  the  shout 
of  applause  that  announces  its  final  triumph  there 
is  a  long  and  tiresome  stretch  of  steep  and  stony 
road  that  is  very  hard  to  tread.  They  are  God's 
heroes  who  set  a  stout  heart  to  that  stiff  brae,  and 
walk  and  not  faint. 

In  his  Autobiography  Mark  Rutherford  tells  of 
his  fierce  struggle  with  the  drink  fiend.  On  one 
never-to-be-forgotten  night  he  resolutely  put  the 
glass  from  him  and  went  to  bed  having  drunk  noth- 
ing but  water.  'But,'  he  continues,  'the  struggle 
was  not  felt  just  then.  It  came  later,  when  the  first 
enthusiasm  of  a  new  purpose  had  faded  away.' 
And,  in  his  Deliverance  he  applies  the  same  prin- 
ciple in  a  more  general  way.  He  is  telling  of  the 
stress  of  his  life  as  a  whole.  'Neither  the  first 

The  Tireless  Trudge  77 

nor  the  last/  he  says,  'has  been  the  difficult  step  with 
me,  but  rather  what  lies  between.  The  first  is 
usually  helped  by  the  excitement  and  promise  of 
new  beginnings,  and  the  last  by  the  prospect  of 
triumph.  But  the  intermediate  path  is  unassisted 
by  enthusiasm,  and  it  is  here  we  are  so  likely  to 
faint.'  I  cannot  close  more  fittingly  than  by  setting 
those  two  striking  sentences  over  against  each  other : 
'It  is  here  we  are  so  likely  to  faint/  says  Mark 
Rutherford,  speaking  of  the  long  and  tiresome  inter- 
mediate phase.  'They  shall  walk  and  not  faint/ 
says  the  prophet  in  reference  to  precisely  the  same 
circumstances  and  conditions.  Wherefore  let  all 
those  who  are  feeling  the  toilsome  drudgery  of  the 
long  and  unromantic  trail  pay  good  heed  to  such 
comfortable  words. 


'UNCLE  TOM  and  Eva  were  seated  on  a  little  mossy 
seat  in  an  arbour  at  the  foot  of  the  garden.  It  was 
Sunday  evening,  and  Eva's  Bible  lay  open  on  her 
knee.  She  read :  "And  I  saw  a  sea  of  glass,  mingled 
with  fire."  "Tom,"  said  Eva,  suddenly  stopping 
and  pointing  to  the  lake,  "there  'tis !"  "What,  Miss 
Eva?"  "Don't  you  see? — there,"  said  the  child, 
pointing  to  the  glassy  water,  which,  as  it  rose  and 
fell,  reflected  the  golden  glow  of  the  sky.  "There's 
a  sea  of  glass,  mingled  with  fire." 

The  exegesis  of  Mrs.  Stowe's  frail  little  heroine 
is  probably  as  near  the  truth  as  our  best  expositors 
are  likely  to  carry  us.  I  have  known  what  it  is  to 
be  surrounded  by  magnificent  and  mountainous  ice- 
bergs in  the  Southern  Ocean;  I  have  been  an  awe- 
stricken  admirer  of  the  grandeur  of  a  thunder-storm 
on  the  equator ;  I  have  seen  the  seas  in  a  passion  as 
they  responded  to  a  gale  off  Cape  Horn;  but  I 
must  confess  that  one  of  the  most  splendid  and  im- 
pressive spectacles  it  has  ever  been  my  lot  to  witness 
was  a  tropical  sunset  at  sea.  The  huge  and  angry 


Sunset  on  the  Sea  79 

sun  went  down  like  a  ball  of  livid  fire.  The  sky 
seemed  to  have  broken  into  flame.  The  sea  was  a 
sea  of  blood.  The  very  foam  on  the  tips  of  the 
waves  was  tinged  with  crimson.  The  outlook  from 
the  deck  of  the  vessel  was  unforgettable — the  kind  of 
thing  to  haunt  you  in  your  dreams.  Everything 
was  weird,  awful,  unearthly.  And  as  I  gazed  upon 
the  strange  mingling  of  flood  and  flame  I  thought 
of  John.  The  exiled  apostle  sat  among  the  beetling 
cliffs  of  Patmos  after  having  borne  the  burden  and 
heat  of  the  toilsome  convict  day.  And  at  evening 
he  gazed  wearily  and  wistfully  westwards  towards 
those  teeming  centres  of  civilization  into  which  he 
had  hoped  to  carry  the  story  of  the  Cross.  And, 
even  as  he  gazed,  the  cold  Aegean  Sea  flamed  with 
the  glory  of  an  Oriental  sunset;  and  he  beheld  at  his 
feet  'a  sea  of  glass,  mingled  with  fire.' 

The  fact  is  that  the  seeming  antagonisms  of  life 
are  not  so  incongruous  as  we,  in  our  superficial 
moments,  are  apt  to  suppose.  We  are  in  imminent 
peril  of  reaching  false  conclusions  through  taking  it 
for  granted  that  the  other  side  of  truth  is  always  a 
lie.  We  forget  that  fire  and  water  are  in  greater 
concord  than  we  assume.  Truth  consists  not  in  a 
part,  but  in  the  whole;  and  the  separate  parts  of 
that  whole  are  often  apparently  inconsistent.  Pro- 
fessor Henry  Drummond  has  shown  us  that  the 

So  The  Luggage  of  Life 

'time  was  when  the  science  of  geology  was  inter- 
preted exclusively  in  terms  of  the  action  of  a  single 
force — fire.  Then  followed  the  theories  of  an 
opposing  school,  who  saw  all  the  earth's  formations 
to  be  the  result  of  water.  Any  biology,  any  soci- 
ology, any  evolution/  adds  the  professor,  'which 
is  based  on  a  single  factor  is  as  untrue  as  the  old 
geology.'  Geologians  never  approximated  to  the 
real  truth  until  they  saw  'a  sea  of  glass,  mingled 
with  fire.'  And  from  those  ancient  blunders  of 
the  geologians,  our  theologians,  if  they  be  discreet, 
may  still  learn  much.  Knowledge  is  not  the  mono- 
poly of  any  one  of  her  numerous  schools. 

The  fact  is  that  Truth  is  always  and  everywhere 
friendly  to  Truth.  It  therefore  follows,  as  the  night 
the  day,  that  Truth  need  never  be  afraid  of  Truth. 
One  man  may  interpret  Truth  in  the  terms  of  a  sea 
of  glass;  another  may  interpret  Truth  in  the  terms 
of  a  flame  of  fire.  A  superficial  hearer,  listening  to 
the  two  interpretations,  will  throw  up  his  hands  in 
horror.  'Babel  and  confusion!'  he  will  cry. 
'Which  is  true  and  which  is  false?'  But  a  wise 
man  will  listen  reverently  to  both  preachers,  and 
will  see  that  a  sea  of  glass  may  quite  easily,  and 
quite  naturally,  be  mingled  with  fire.  A  few  years 
ago  there  awoke  in  Europe  a  spirit  of  scientific 
research.  The  geologist  took  his  hammer  and  began 

Sunset  en  the  Sea  81 

to  search  among  the  strata  for  truth.  The 
astronomer  swept  the  heavens  with  his  telescope  in 
his  quest  of  truth.  The  antiquarian  and  historian 
went  off  together  to  the  East  with  a  spade,  and 
began  to  dig  in  Palestine,  Egypt,  Asia  Minor,  and 
Assyria  for  truth.  And  there  were  excellent  souls 
in  all  the  churches  who  cried  for  mercy.  'Stop!' 
they  cried,  'you  will  find  something  among  stones  or 
stars  that  will  stagger  our  faith  or  shatter  our 
serenity.  You  will  dig  up  something  in  some  lone 
Syrian  town  that  will  contradict  our  Bibles!'  But 
Science  would  not  stop.  Investigation  and  scrutiny 
hastened  forward.  And  with  what  result?  We  see 
now  that,  whilst  Science  appeared  to  our  grandsires 
like  a  sea  of  glass,  as  compared  with  Revelation, 
which  was  like  a  flame  of  fire,  the  two  are  not 
contradictory  or  antagonistic.  They  harmonize  and 
blend.  And  we  to-day  see  'a  sea  of  glass,  mingled 
with  fire.' 

It  is  the  glory  of  the  Christian  faith  that  it  is  im- 
mense enough  to  be  able  to  contain  within  itself 
aspects  and  elements  that  at  first  sight  seem  strangely 
conflicting.  I  heard  a  preacher  exulting  in  the 
tenderness  and  beauty  of  God's  infinite  love.  The 
very  same  day  I  heard  another  speak  of  the  severity 
and  exactness  of  God's  infinite  justice.  Surely  he 
was  speaking  of  a  different  God!  But  no;  it  is  the 

82  The  Luggage  of  Life 

same  God,  but  such  a  God !  There  is  no  conflict  nor 
confusion.  We  are  simply  gazing  at  a  sea  of  glass, 
mingled  with  fire.  He  is  'a  just  God  and  a  Saviour.' 
And  those  who  know  Him  and  worship  Him  are 
like  unto  Him.  Dean  Stanley  has  a  most  exquisite 
passage,  in  which  he  extols  these  diverse  qualities  in 
the  life  of  Arnold.  He  describes  the  perfect  ease 
and  delicacy  with  which  Arnold  revelled  in  the 
atmosphere  of  the  home.  Those  who  had  only  seen 
the  stern  schoolmaster  in  the  halls  of  Rugby  scarcely 
recognized  him  as  he  romped  with  the  merry  chil- 
dren by  the  hearth.  And  those  who  had  only  known 
him  in  the  home,  a  man  so  engaging,  so  winsome,  so 
delightful,  listened  as  to  ac  strange  language  when 
others  referred  to  his  strictness  and  austerity.  'Yet/ 
says  Stanley,  'both  were  perfectly  natural  to  him; 
the  severity  and  the  playfulness  expressing,  each  in 
its  turn,  the  earnestness  with  which  he  entered  into 
the  business  of  life,  and  the  enjoyment  with  which 
he  entered  into  its  rest/  In  a  word,  his  character, 
which  was  perhaps  more  reverenced  than  that  of 
any  man  of  his  time,  was  like  'a  sea  of  glass,  mingled 
with  fire.' 

The  splendour  of  the  sunset  on  the  sea  has  a  very 
practical  application  to  the  testimony  and  teaching 
of  all  the  Christian  churches.  Let  us  take,  by  way  of 
illustration,  two  extreme  cases.  I  repeat  that  both 

Sunset  on  the  Sea  83 

instances  are  necessarily — and  happily — extreme.  A 
fine  church,  splendidly  upholstered  and  appointed, 
but  only  moderately  attended.  Its  pulpit  is  regarded 
as  the  last  word  in  scholarship — and  that  is  as  it 
should  be.  But  it  is  said  to  be  'cold.'  The  ministry 
is  forbidding;  the  atmosphere  lacks  cordiality.  On 
the  way  home  the  worshippers  are  arrested  by  a 
spectacle  so  remote  from  that  from  which  they  have 
just  departed  that  they  might  almost  mistake  it  for 
a  representation  of  a  different  religion.  A  street 
preacher  screams  and  yells  in  a  frenzied  monotone. 
His  theology  is  almost  brutal;  his  illustrations  are 
shocking;  his  gesticulation  is  terrifying;  his 
grammar  causes  even  the  children  to  smile.  But 
his  arresting  passion,  his  grim  earnestness,  his  trans- 
parent sincerity,  his  vivid  realization  of  the  awful 
realities  of  which  he  speaks — these  are  beyond  ques- 

If  only  the  other  preacher  had  caught  something 
of  his  intensity,  and  if  only  he  had  taken  the  pains 
to  acquire  something  of  that  preacher's  erudition, 
what  scenes  might  have  been  witnessed  both  from 
the  cushioned  pew  and  from  the  corner  of  the  pave- 
ment! As  it  is,  both  are  largely  ineffective.  The 
one  is  like  the  sea — deep,  but  cold.  The  other  is 
like  the  sun — blazing,  but  wearying.  The  seer  at 
Patmos  saw  that  the  ideal  lies,  not  in  the  lowering 

84  The  Luggage  of  Life 

of  the  scholarship  of  the  one,  nor  in  the  reduction 
of  the  fervour  of  the  other,  but  in  the  mingling  of 
the  two — 'a  sea  of  glass,  mingled  with  fire.'  The 
problem  is  not  one  of  subtraction,  but  of  addition. 
It  is  said  that  young  men  sometimes  enter  theo- 
logical seminaries  overflowing,  like  volcanoes,  with 
fires  of  enthusiasm  that  they  can  neither  hide  nor 
contain.  And  it  is  said,  too,  that  they  frequently 
emerge  from  those  colleges  like  icebergs — very  im- 
pressive, but  very  cold.  It  is  usually  their  own  fault 
when  such  moral  tragedies  occur.  At  least,  it  is  a 
thousand  shames  things  should  so  fall  out.  The 
youthful  fires  ought  to  be  fed  and  purified  by  the 
addition  of  knowledge.  The  minister,  as  he  waves 
farewell  to  his  Alma  Mater,  should  carry  with  him 
his  youthful  ardour  absolutely  undiminished  and 
unabated,  with  all  his  scholastic  acquirements  as  a 
clear  addition. 

Of  all  the  rites  and  ordinances  of  Christian  wor- 
ship the  same  may  be  said.  Our  services  and 
assemblies  are  intended  to  be  seas  of  glass,  mingled 
with  fire.  Solemnity  must  be  there,  and  dignity; 
but  there  must  be  emotion  and  deep  feeling  as  well. 
Splendid  music  must  be  shot  through  with  spiritual 
praise.  Stately  eloquence  must  be  glorified  by  stir- 
ring passion.  All  the  externals  and  ceremonials  of 
worship  are  in  themselves  as  cold  as  icicles.  The 

Sunset  on  the  Sea  85 

most  beautiful  and  impressive  ordinances  are  simply 
seas  of  glass  till  they  are  mingled  with  fire.  It  is 
only  as  they  are  made  luminous  with  intense  spirit- 
ual significance  that  they  reveal  their  glory  to  the 
eyes  of  men.  Nothing  is  more  flat,  stale,  and  un- 
profitable than  an  argument  concerning  the  mere 
technicalities  and  externals  of  an  ordinance.  Yet 
nothing  is  more  inflaming  to  all  that  is  best  within 
us  than  the  actual  commemoration  of  these  lovely 
rites.  Baptism,  apart  from  the  profound  spiritual 
sanctions  with  which  the  Scriptures  invest  it,  is  a 
sea  of  glass.  But  with  the  realization  of  those  inner 
mysteries  and  experiences,  the  waters  flame  and 
burn.  Paul  tells  us  that  the  same  is  true  of  the 
Lord's  Supper.  'He  that  eateth  and  drinketh  un- 
worthily, eateth  and  drinketh  damnation  to  himself, 
not  discerning  the  Lord's  body'  To  such  a  one, 
that  is  to  say,  the  elements  are  dumb;  the  waters  do 
not  glow  with  fire.  He  sees  the  sea,  but  not  the  sun. 
Little  Eva  and  Uncle  Tom  were,  therefore,  uncon- 
sciously embarking  on  a  voyage  amidst  the  eternal 
verities  as  they  gazed  upon  the  sunlit  lake  at  New 
Orleans  on  that  beauteous  and  tranquil  Sunday 
evening.  And  we  shall  be  permanently  enriched  if 
we  catch  something  of  the  radiant  significance  of 
the  vision  that  they  saw.  Our  seas  and  suns— -our 
floods  and  flames — must  mingle. 



THERE  is  something  wonderfully  restful  to  the  eye, 
and  strangely  soothing  to  the  mind,  about  the  very 
environment  of  a  first-class  cricket-match.  The 
green  and  tented  field,  fanned  by  the  balmy  breath 
of  summer  and  fragrant  with  the  peculiar  but  pleas- 
ant odour  of  the  turf;  the  huge  stands,  musical 
with  the  hum  of  eager  conversation  and  the  ripple 
of  easy  laughter;  the  dash  of  colour  imparted  by 
gay  dresses,  fluttering  flags,  and  the  creamy  flannels 
of  the  players ;  and,  last  but  not  least,  the  immense 
crowd,  garrulous  with  reminiscences  of  earlier  con- 
tests and  overflowing  with  geniality  and  good 
temper.  And  then,  crowning  all,  the  glorious  game 
itself !  Harold  Begbie  does  well  to  lilt  its  praise : 

England  has  played  at  many  a  game,  and  ever  her  toy  was 

a  ball; 
But  the  meadow  game,  with  the  beautiful  name,  is  king 

and  lord  of  them  all. 
Cricket  is  king  and  lord  of  them  all,  through  the  sweet 

green  English  shires ; 
And  here's  to  the  bat  and  the  ball  (How's  that?),  and  the 

heart  that  never  tires. 


90  The  Luggage  of  Life 

Nothing  is  more  certain  than  that  a  recreation 
which  holds  the  devoted  attachment  of  a  great 
people  must,  in  the  very  nature  of  things,  be  pre- 
eminently a  matter  of  morals.  In  his  monumental 
work,  The  Rise  of  the  D^utch  Republic,  John 
Lothrop  Motley  says  that  'from  the  amusements  of 
a  people  may  be  gathered  much  that  is  necessary  for 
a  proper  estimation  of  its  character.'  And  he  pro- 
ceeds to  demonstrate,  with  his  wonted  insight  and 
sagacity,  the  truth  of  this  general  proposition  from 
the  experience  of  that  sturdy  little  people  whose 
most  distinguished  historian  he  must  for  ever 
remain.  Goethe,  too,  that  profound  yet  practical 
philosopher,  has  laid  it  down  'that  men  show  their 
character  in  nothing  more  clearly  than  by  what  they 
think  laughable.'  And  Macaulay,  in  paying  tribute 
to  Frederick  of  Rheinsberg,  remarks  that  'perhaps 
more  light  is  thrown  on  his  character  by  what  passed 
during  his  hours  of  relaxation  than  by  his  battles  or 
his  laws.'  The  evidence  of  three  such  witnesses — 
Motley,  Goethe,  and  Macaulay — must  be  regarded 
as  indisputable.  One  has  only  to  think  of  the  gladi- 
ators and  martyrs  who  were  'butchered  to  make  a 
Roman  holiday,'  and  to  remind  oneself  that  five 
thousand  horses  and  twelve  hundred  bulls  are  an- 
nually slaughtered  in  Spanish  bull-rings,  to  see  that 
Paganism  on  the  one  hand,  and  Popery  on  the  other, 

Clean  Bowled!  91 

betray  their  characters  in  the  very  recreations  of 
their  devotees.  From  a  gladiatorial  combat  in 
ancient  Rome  or  a  bull-fight  in  modern  Madrid  to  a 
test  cricket-match  in  England  or  Australia  is  a  far, 
far  cry.  The  question  inevitably  arises :  What  has 
made  the  difference?  There  is  only  one  answer 
possible.  It  is  the  Cross  I  It  is  not  too  much  to 
claim  that  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ  has  trans- 
figured and  softened  and  beautified  the  very  sports 
and  pastimes  of  those  who  have  come  beneath  its 

But  the  thing  that  has  most  impressed  me,  as  I 
have  watched  these  splendid  contests,  is  the  startling 
suddenness  with  which  calamity  swoops  down  upon 
a  player,  and  imports  a  new  atmosphere  into  the 
game.  A  man  may  bat  most  brilliantly  for  half  a 
day.  You  watch  him  hour  after  hour.  He  blocks 
and  cuts  and  pulls  and  drives  with  a  consistency 
that  becomes  almost  monotonous.  Bowler  after 
bowler  is  tried,  but  their  task  seems  hopeless.  Then 
— a  dog  yelps  behind  you.  You  turn  your  head  to 
see  what  is  amiss,  and  in  that  fraction  of  a  second 
there  is  a  click  and  a  cry  and  a  cheer.  And  as 
you  look  hastily  back  to  the  field,  you  see  the 
scattered  stumps;  and  the  hero  of  the  hours  is  setting 
out  from  the  crease  to  the  pavilion.  Before  you 
turned  your  head  you  actually  saw  the  bowler  com- 

92  The  Luggage  of  Life 

mence  his  delivery.  He  did  not  wave  his  hand  and 
cry,  'This  is  the  ball  that  is  going  to  do  it!'  The 
men  in  the  field  gave  no  signal.  The  batsman 
looked  as  he  had  looked  for  hours.  There  was 
absolutely  nothing  to  lead  you  to  suspect  that  the 
fatal  ball  was  actually  leaving  the  bowler's  hands. 
So  suddenly,  swiftly,  sensationally — like  a  bolt  from 
the  blue — calamity  pounces  down  upon  a  man,  and 
there  is  no  place  for  repentance  though  he  seeks  it 
earnestly  with  tears.  The  broken  wicket  is  irrepar- 
able. He  may  explain  and  excuse,  but  he  cannot 

I  have  been  reading  Mr.  Stewart  E.  White's  The 
Forest.  It  is  a  most  entrancing  description  of  travel 
with  the  Indians  among  the  woods  and  waterways 
of  North  America.  And  it  contains,  among  other 
fine  things,  a  splendid  chapter  on  'Canoeing.'  He 
says,  inter  alia,  that  'in  a  four-hour  run  across  an 
open  bay  you  will  encounter  somewhat  over  a  thou- 
sand waves,  no  two  of  which  are  exactly  alike,  and 
any  one  of  which  can  swamp  you  only  too  easily  if 
it  is  not  correctly  met.'  Each  wave,  he  tells  us,  has 
an  individuality  of  its  own.  It  requires  a  poise  and 
a  balance  and  a  movement  quite  distinct  from  those 
demanded  by  any  other  wave.  And  he  adds :  Re- 
member this:  be  just  as  careful  with  the  very  last 
wave  as  you  were  with  the  others.  Get  inside  before 

Clean  Bowled!  93 

you  draw  that  deep  breath  of  relief.  That  sentence  is 
sage,  striking,  significant.  It  seems  to  matter  very 
little  whether  you  are  canoeing  in  America  or 
cricketing  in  Australia;  the  same  principle  is  at 
work.  In  the  one  case,  the  waves  seem  all  alike; 
yet  each  wave  has  its  own  peculiar  peril,  and  the 
Indian  who,  for  one  little  second,  is  off  his  guard 
finds  himself  wallowing  in  the  surging  torrent.  In 
the  other  case,  the  balls  seem  all  alike ;  yet  each  has 
a  trick  of  its  own,  and  the  unhappy  batsman  who, 
for  one  instant,  plays  mechanically  or  carelessly  is 
rudely  recalled  by  the  hideous  rattle  of  the  wrecked 
wicket  behind  him.  In  canoeing  and  in  cricketing 
disaster  leaps  upon  its  astonished  victim  with  such 
sensational  swiftness. 

'In  canoeing  and  in  cricketing.'  And  in  every- 
thing else  for  that  matter.  That  is  a  trite  and 
terrible  verse  of  George  MacDonald's: 

Alas,  how  easily  things  go  wrong! 
A  sigh  too  deep,  or  a  kiss  too  long; 
And  then  conies  a  mist  and  a  weeping  rain, 
And  life  is  never  the  same  again. 

That  is  it.  Life,  for  most  of  us,  is  wonderfully 
like  the  experience  of  the  Australian  batsman  and 
the  American  boatman.  It  is  very  strenuous  and 
full  of  peril.  Every  nerve  is  taut.  Each  wave  and 

94  The  Luggage  of  Life 

each  ball  must  be  negotiated  as  though  all  destinies 
hung  trembling  on  our  triumph  over  that  particular 
wave,  our  mastery  of  that  particular  ball.  Most  of 
us  can  recall  pathetic  instances  of  crushing  moral 
disaster.  Their  very  memory  casts  a  heavy  gloom 
over  our  spirits  still.  Our  idols  fell,  and  we  remem- 
ber the  shock  and  the  stagger.  'Who  can  see  worse 
days,'  asks  Bacon,  'than  he  that,  yet  living,  doth  fol- 
low at  the  funeral  of  his  own  reputation?'  It  is 
absolutely  the  last  word  in  human  tragedy  and  sor- 
row. Yet  how  fearfully  swiftly  it  all  happened !. 
The  thunder-bolt  pounced  out  of  a  cloudless  sky 
and  stupefied  us  by  its  appalling  suddenness.  The 
morning  of  that  moral  shipwreck  broke  as  calmly 
as  any  since  the  world  began.  The  sun  shone  just 
as  brightly;  the  birds  sang  just  as  blithely;  the 
flowers  bloomed  just  as  sweetly;  and  all  the  world 
was  fair.  It  was  like  the  fatal  ball  and  the  fatal 
wave.  There  was  nothing  about  that  day  to  dis- 
tinguish it  from  any  other  day.  Yet  that  day,  in  an 
unwary  moment,  the  gust  of  temptation  did  what 
many  storms  had  failed  to  do.  The  hero  fell.  In 
giving  evidence  at  the  memorable  Tay  Bridge  in- 
quiry in  Scotland,  Admiral  Dougall  attributed  the 
collapse  of  the  great  bridge  to  a  sudden  pressure  of 
wind  from  an  unaccustomed  quarter.  'Even  trees,' 
he  added,  'are  not  able  to  resist  pressure  from  un- 

Clean  Bowled!  95 

usual  directions.  A  tree  spreads  out  its  roots  in  the 
direction  of  the  prevailing  wind.'  The  moral  is 

I  find  my  hand  trembling  as  I  write.  My  peril 
is  so  intensely  real  and  so  terribly  acute.  I  may 
bat  for  hours  and  pile  up  the  centuries  upon  the  scor- 
ingboard;  and  then,  in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye,  a 
ball  with  a  slightly  different  break  may  astonish  me 
by  compassing  my  downfall.  I  may  battle  for  hours 
with  the  racing  and  foam-tipped  breakers;  and 
then,  as  suddenly  as  a  lightning  flash,  a  wave  of 
innocent  appearance  but  of  peculiar  peril  may  wreck 
my  frail  little  craft  within  sight  and  sound  of  home. 
A  gust  of  temptation  from  an  unusual  quarter  may 
work  for  me  such  havoc  as  the  sudden  squall  did  for 
the  famous  Scottish  bridge.  Wherefore,  says  Mr. 
Stewart  E.  White,  'Remember  this :  be  just  as  care- 
ful with  the  very  last  wave  as  you  were  with  the 
others.  Get  inside  before  you  draw  that  deep  breath 
of  relief.'  And  a  still  greater  and  even  more  experi- 
enced traveller  adds:  'Let  him  that  thinketh  he 
standeth  take  heed  lest  he  fall.'  The  logic  of  the 
flying  bails  is  irresistible.  And  it  is  so  wofully  easy 
to  be  caught  in  the  slips. 



I  ENTERED  a  chemist's  shop.  The  polite  apothecary 
asked  me  to  wait  awhile,  and,  to  save  my  soul  from 
the  tedium  of  staring  vacantly  at  his  immense 
coloured  bottles,  he  very  kindly  handed  me  a  copy 
of  a  magazine.  It  proved  to  be  the  current  num- 
ber of  The  British  Importer.  It  did  not  appear 
promising;  it  was  scarcely  in  my  line;  the  chances 
of  a  thrill  seemed  remote.  I  fancied  that  the 
coloured  bottles  might  be  more  exciting,  after  all. 
But  I  suddenly  revised  my  judgment.  The  word 
WARNING  !  caught  my  eye.  It  was  at  the  top  of  a 
reproduction  of  a  card  issued  by  the  Incorporated 
Liverpool  School  of  Tropical  Medicine.  It  bore  the 
signatures  of  the  Princess  Christian,  the  Earl  of 
Derby,  Lord  Cromer,  and  a  host  of  other  dis- 
tinguished individuals.  It  proclaimed  as  its  object 
that  it  aimed  at  the  prevention  of  Climatic  Fever, 
Malaria,  Yellow  Fever,  Dengue  Fever,  Coast  Fever, 
Endemical  Fever,  Remittent  Fever,  and  Bilious  Re- 


Mad  Dogs  and  Mosquitoes  97 

mittent  Fever — a  truly  terrible  array.    And  it  laid 
down,  as  an  indisputable  proposition, 

That  the  Bite  of  a  Mosquito  should  be  dreaded  as 
much  as  that  of  a  Mad  Dog. 

I  thanked  her  Royal  Highness,  I  expressed  my 
obligations  to  these  noble  lords  and  learned  doctors 
for  so  interesting  a  statement  so  concisely  phrased, 
and,  laying  aside  The  British  Importer,  from  which 
I  had  imported  as  much  as  I  could  carry  in  one  load, 
I  gave  myself  furiously  to  think. 

The  fact  is,  of  course,  that  the  mad  dog  has  gone 
out  of  fashion.  He  had  his  vogue,  and  it  was  a 
great  one  while  it  lasted.  But  his  day  is  dead.  The 
turn  of  the  mosquito  has  come.  It  is  perhaps  a 
little  disconcerting  and  a  little  humiliating,  but  it  is 
irresistibly  true.  And,  since  it  is  so  resistlessly  true, 
it  is  better  to  face  the  facts.  In  his  magnificent 
History  of  the  Nineteenth  Century  Mr.  Robert  Mc- 
Kenzie  broke  the  news  to  us  as  gently  as  he  could. 
That  great  chapter  on  'The  Redress  of  Wrongs/ 
which  haunts  the  ear  for  ever  like  a  shout  of 
triumph,  might  have  been  entitled:  'The  Slaughter 
of  the  Mad  Dogs.'  I  very  respectfully  present  the 
suggestion  to  Mr.  McKenzie,  with  an  eye  to  future 
editions.  In  that  stately  chapter  he  marshals  the 

98  The  Luggage  of  Life 

hideous  injustices  and  social  tyrannies  under  which 
men  groaned  but  a  generation  or  two  ago.  He  re- 
cites, in  glowing  language,  the  glorious  story  of 
reform.  And  when  he  has  told  his  thrilling  tale, 
and  has  described  the  destruction  of  one  monstrous 
evil  after  another,  he  brings  his  chapter  to  a  con- 
clusion with  a  sentence  that  you  learn  by  heart, 
simply  because  you  cannot  help  it.  'The  injustice 
of  ages  has  been  cancelled/  he  cries  triumphantly; 
'the  Hampdens  of  the  future  must  be  contented  to 
occupy  themselves  mainly  with  the  correction  of 
small  and  uninteresting  evils.'  The  mad  dogs  are 
all  slain,  that  is  to  say;  the  reformers  of  to-morrow 
must  turn  their  attention,  like  the  Princess  and  the 
peers  whose  proclamation  set  me  scribbling,  to  the 
matter  of  the  mosquitoes. 

In  his  Heretics  Mr.  G.  K.  Chesterton  scented  this 
truth  of  the  mad  dogs  and  the  mosquitoes,  but  dis- 
tantly. He  describes  what  he  calls  the  war  between 
the  telescope  and  the  microscope.  Compared  with 
this,  he  thinks,  the  war  between  Russia  and  Japan 
is  but  a  storm  in  a  teacup.  In  the  past  we  have 
abandoned  ourselves  to  the  worship  of  bigness.  We 
have  strutted  about  the  planet  looking  for  big  things, 
and  the  natural  result  is  that  we  have  found  them 
all.  Now  what  is  to  be  done?  The  telescope  is  of 
no  further  use.  And  it's  far  too  early  to  go  to  bed. 

Mad  Dogs  and  Mosquitoes  99 

Out  with  the  microscope!  Make  the  stones  tell 
their  story.  Let  the  leaf  of  every  tree,  and  the  wing 
of  every  fly,  and  the  petal  of  every  flower  unfold 
their  lovely  tales.  A  fig  for  the  telescope!  Its 
pleasures  are  so  easily  exhausted.  Hurrah  for  the 
microscope!  Its  domain  is  without  limit;  its  future 
is  eternal.  There  are  at  least  a  million  million  mos- 
quitoes for  every  mad  dog.  Then  who  cares  for 
mad  dogs?  Let's  get  to  the  mosquitoes! 

Many  years  ago  a  singular  custom  prevailed  in 
addressing  children.  The  good  man  would  look  into 
the  eyes  of  his  youthful  auditors,  and,  assuming  a 
melodramatic  tone,  intended  to  convey  the  idea  that 
he  was  about  to  impart  something  sensational,  he 
would  say :  'Peradventure,  my  boys,  I  am  even  now 
addressing  some  future  Columbus  or  Captain  Cook, 
some  Polar  explorer  or  celebrated  discoverer !'  And 
in  those  olden  times  the  argument  was  very  effec- 
tive ;  but  it  has,  of  course,  been  blown  to  bits  since 
then.  The  last  time  it  was  used,  one  of  the  boys 
asked  permission  to  submit  a  question.  'What's  the 
good  of  being  a  Christopher  Columbus/  he  asked, 
'now  that  you  have  no  more  Americas  to  be  dis- 
covered? What's  the  good  of  being  a  Captain  Cook 
now  that  we've  seen  pictures  of  every  rock  and  reef 
that  pokes  its  head  out  of  the  ocean?  What's  the 
good  of  being  a  Polar  explorer  when  there  are  no 

ioo  The  Luggage  of  Life 

more  Poles  ?'  That  is  the  point.  We  cannot  be  ex- 
pected to  supply  new  Africas  for  every  budding 
Livingstone,  new  Mexicos  for  every  prospective 
Cortes;  and  the  supply  of  Poles  is  certainly  shock- 
ingly limited.  What  then?  Shall  we  put  the 
shutters  up?  Not  at  all. 

When  Major  Leonard  Darwin  delivered  his  presi- 
dential address  to  the  Royal  Geographical  Society, 
this  matter  of  mad  dogs  and  mosquitoes  was  evi- 
dently at  the  back  of  his  mind.  'It  is  true/  he  said, 
'that  the  South  Pole  is  as  yet  uncaptured,  that  the 
map  of  Arabia  is  still  largely  composed  of  great 
blank  spaces,  and  that  the  bend  of  the  Brahmaputra 
is  drawn  by  guesswork  in  our  atlases.  But  it  is 
probable  that  all  these  problems  will  be  solved 
almost  immediately.  What,  then,  is  there  left  for 
the  Royal  Geographical  Society  to  do?  The  So- 
ciety must,  then,  direct  its  efforts  with  more  per- 
sistence than  heretofore  in  the  direction  of  encourag- 
ing travellers  to  make  detailed  and  systematic  ex- 
aminations of  comparatively  small  areas.'  Bravely 
said!  'The  mad  dogs  are  nearly  all  slaughtered,' 
the  learned  President  seems  to  say.  'Gentlemen  of 
the  Royal  Geographical  Society,  let  us  turn  our  at- 
tention to  the  mosquitoes !'  'The  Hampdens  of  the 
future  must  be  contented  to  occupy  themselves 
mainly  with  the  correction  of  small  and  uninterest- 

Mad  Dogs  and  Mosquitoes  101 

ing  evils.'    Exit — the  mad  dog!    Enter — the  mos- 
quito ! 

Wouldst  thou  be  a  hero?    Wait  not  then  supinely 
For  fields  of  fine  romance  that  no  day  brings; 

The  finest  work  oft  lies  in  doing  finely 
A  multitude  of  unromantic  things ! 

But  we  must  probe  more  deeply  yet.  The  greatest 
word  ever  spoken  about  mad  dogs  and  mosquitoes 
was  uttered  by  Paul.  He  always  seems  to  have 
the  last  word  about  everything.  'We  wrestle/  he 
says,  'not  against  flesh  and  blood,  but  against  spirit- 
ual wickedness/  Our  fiercest  fight,  he  tells  us,  is 
not  with  the  coarse  sins  of  the  flesh — mad  dogs — 
but  with  sins  that  are  as  insidious  and  ubiquitous 
and  invisible  as  mosquitoes  in  the  night.  And,  as 
our  Princess  and  peers  have  told  us,  'the  bite  of  a 
mosquito  is  as  much  to  be  dreaded  as  that  of  a  mad 
dog.'  'If/  says  old  William  Law,  'we  would  make 
any  real  progress  in  religion,  we  must  not  only 
abhor  gross  and  notorious  sins,  but  we  must  regu- 
late the  innocent  and  lawful  parts  of  our  behaviour 
and  put  the  most  common  and  allowed  actions  of 
life  under  the  rules  of  discretion  and  piety/  That 
is  precisely  Paul's  point. 

But  by  this  time  my  reader  can  think  of  no  one 
but  Thomas  Chalmers  and  his  early  ministry  at  Kil- 

102  The  Luggage  of  Life 

many.  How  he  thundered  at  the  mad  dogs!  He 
preached  against  adultery  and  robbery  and  murder 
twice  every  Sabbath.  But,  as  he  himself  confessed, 
no  good  ever  came  of  it.  Then  came  the  memorable 
illness  and  his  wonderful  conversion.  Every  min- 
ister ought  to  give  his  people  that  great  page  of 
Scotland's  spiritual  history  in  Chalmers'  own  beau- 
tiful but  billowy  language.  And  after  his  conver- 
sion the  mad  dogs  troubled  Chalmers  no  more.  We 
hear  no  more  about  sensuality — about  what  Paul 
calls  'flesh  and  blood.'  But,  instead,  we  hear  a  great 
deal  of  a  multitude  of  microscopic  pests,  of  which* 
we  heard  no  single  word  before.  He  laments  his 
impetuosity;  he  deplores  his  being  'bustled';  he 
weeps  over  his  coldness.  'Oh  my  sinful  emula- 
tions!' he  cries;  'my  ambition  of  superiority  over 
others !  my  lack  of  meekness !  my  want  of  purity  of 
heart.  My  heart  is  overspread  with  thorns.'  Here, 
too,  is  a  record  of  a  terrific  tussle  with  a  mosquito. 
'Had  asked  John  Bonthorn  to  supper  yesternight/ 
he  says  in  his  diary,  'and  told  him  with  emphasis 
that  we  supped  at  nine.  He  came  this  night  at  eight. 
All  forbearance  and  civility  left  me,  and  with  my 
prayers  I  mixed  the  darkness  of  that  heart  which 
hateth  his  brother.  This  is  most  truly  lamentable, 
and  reveals  to  me  the  exceeding  nakedness  of  my 

Mad  Dogs  and  Mosquitoes  103 

Yes,  there  is  no  doubt  about  it.  These  princes 
of  the  holier  life — Paul,  and  Law,  and  Chalmers — 
know  what  they  are  talking  about.  Our  real  conflict 
is  not  with  the  mad  dogs,  but  with  the  mosquitoes. 

Hear  two  witnesses.  Professor  Momerie  asks: 
'Will  you  say  that  the  man  who  has  made  your 
home  a  very  hell  by  his  morose  and  sullen  temper  is 
more  righteous  than  the  man  who  has  stolen  your 
handkerchief?  Why,  the  misery  caused  by  all  the 
pickpockets  in  the  world  to  the  whole  human  race 
is  less  than  that  inflicted  on  your  single  self  by  the 
so-called  little  sins  of  your  relative's  detestable 
temper.'  In  his  lovely  essay  on  Charles  Lamb,  the 
Right  Hon.  Augustine  Birrell,  M.P.,  confesses  that 
the  gentle  Elia  was  too  fond  of  gin  and  water.  But 
he  asks  if  'an  occasional  intoxication  which  hurt  no 
one  but  himself  is  to  be  considered  a  more  damning 
offence  than  the  pale  jealousy,  the  speckled  malice, 
the  boundless  self-conceit,  the  maddening  petulance, 
and  the  spiteful  ill-will  of  others,  who,  though  they 
lifted  no  glass  to  their  lips,  broke  many  hearts  by 
their  bitterness  and  envy?  We  find  it  hard  to  an- 
swer these  questions  of  the  learned  professor  and 
the  distinguished  statesman.  But  this  much  is  clear : 
it  is  all  a  matter  of  mad  dogs  and  mosquitoes. 

A  young  lady  asked  Charles  Dickens  to  enter  his 
confessions  in  her  album.  'What  is  your  pet  aver- 

The  Luggage  of  Life 

sion?'  one  question  ran.  To  which  Dickens  replied, 
'Having  the  calves  of  my  legs  gnawed  off  by  a  mad 
dog !'  The  experience  is  certainly  not  alluring ;  but, 
then,  how  many  people  have  endured  it?  and  how 
many  have  been  tortured  by  mosquitoes?  Mad 
dogs  have  slain  their  hundreds,  but  mosquitoes  have 
slain  their  tens  of  thousands.  For  the  venom  of 
these  tiny  creatures  is  fearfully  fatal.  As  witness 
the  long  list  of  fevers  mentioned  in  the  proclama- 
tion of  the  Princess  and  the  peers,  and  attributed  by 
them  to  the  ubiquitous  mosquito.  Or  ask  Paul,  or 
Law,  or  Chalmers,  or  the  man  whose  face  you  see 
daily  in  the  mirror.  Wherefore,  as  the  proclama- 
tion puts  it,  'the  bite  of  a  mosquito  should  be 
dreaded  as  much  as  that  of  a  mad  dog.'  The  card 
bears  the  title,  A  warning  to  wise  men.  That  is 
very  suggestive ;  there  is  no  more  to  be  said. 



I  AM  attracted  to  my  present  theme  by  the  merest 
freak  of  circumstance.  I  was  shown  a  most  inter- 
esting letter.  As  I  read  that  letter  I  felt  as  one 
might  feel  who  is  suddenly  transported  to  Mexico 
or  Tibet.  Everything  was  absolutely  foreign  to 
me.  The  language  was  unfamiliar,  and  the  atmos- 
phere was  one  which  I  had  never  breathed.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  it  was  the  letter  of  an  accomplished 
pianist  concerning  music  and  musicians.  The  writer 
lives,  moves,  and  has  her  being  in  a  world  which,  I 
blush  to  confess,  I  have  never  invaded.  A  message 
from  Mars  could  not  have  possessed  greater 
novelty.  But  let  me  hasten  to  the  point.  The 
writer  speaks  of  her  acquaintance  with  a  certain 
eminent  pianist  whose  recitals  crowd  the  most  spa- 
cious auditoriums  in  Europe  with  ecstatic  admirers. 
But,  our  correspondent  goes  on  to  say,  there  is  just 
one  thing  lacking.  This  brilliant  pianist  is  a  lonely, 
taciturn  man,  and  a  certain  coldness  and  aloofness 
steal  into  his  play.  And  then  the  writer  of  our 
letter  mentions  the  name  of  a  lady  pianist.  That 


io6  The  Luggage  of  Life 

name  is  a  household  word  in  musical  circles  the  wide 
world  over;  and  the  writer  says  that,  to  her  per- 
sonal knowledge,  this  illustrious  lady  one  day  laid 
her  hand  on  the  shoulder  of  the  brilliant  young 
performer,  and  said :  'Will  you  let  me  tell  you,  my 
boy,  that  your  playing  lacks  one  thing.  So  far  you 
have  missed  the  greatest  thing  in  the  world.  And, 
unless  you  fall  in  love,  there  will  always  be  a  certain 
cold  perfection  about  your  music.  Unless  you  come 
to  love  another  human  being  passionately  and  un- 
selfishly, you  will  never  touch  human  hearts  as 
deeply  as  you  might.' 

Now  I  have  confessed  that  when  I  read  the  letter 
in  the  presence  of  the  person  to  whom  it  was  ad- 
dressed, I  felt  myself  a  pilgrim  in  a  foreign  clime, 
as  much  abroad  as  an  Esquimaux  in  Italy.  But 
even  an  Esquimaux  in  Italy  would  at  least  be  inter- 
ested, would  look  about  and  stare  if  he  did  not 
understand.  I  found  myself  similarly  arrested. 
Then,  becoming  sceptical,  I  turned  to  the  recipient 
of  the  letter  and  asked  him  if  a  very  liberal  dis- 
count might  not  reasonably  be  deducted  in  con- 
sideration of  the  pardonable  enthusiasm  and  ex- 
cusable exaggeration  of  so  attached  a  musical 
devotee?  Did  not  imagination  count  for  some- 
thing? 'Well/  replied  he,  'the  singular  thing  is  that 
the  writer  of  the  letter  was  a  pupil  of  the  illustrious 

On  Falling  in  Love  107 

lady  pianist  to  whom  she  refers.  One  day,  at  the 
conclusion  of  a  lesson,  the  pupil  looked  up  into  the 
face  of  her  teacher  and  told  her  that  she  had  a  secret 
to  reveal.  'I  know  you  have,'  replied  the  instructor, 
'although  it  is  no  secret.'  The  girl  told  of  her  en- 
gagement 'Yes/  answered  the  teacher,  'but  it  is 
not  quite  new ;  it  is  some  time  ago !'  'That  is  so,  but 
however  did  you  know  ?'  'I  noticed  the  difference  in 
your  playing  at  once,  and  I  have  observed  the 
change  ever  since.  I  was  wondering  when  you  were 
going  to  tell  me!' 

I  am  still  a  stranger  in  a  strange  land.  The 
flowers  wear  strange  hues;  the  birds  are  of  un- 
familiar plumage  and  of  unaccustomed  song;  I  do 
not  understand  the  ways  of  the  people;  I  cannot 
speak  their  language;  I  am  all  abroad,  and  hope- 
lessly lost.  But  I  have  been  here  long  enough  to 
satisfy  myself  that,  strange  as  it  all  is,  the  country 
is  a  real  country.  The  things  at  which  I  marvel 
are  real  things.  I  am  not  being  tricked  by  a  mirage. 
It  is  no  illusion;  I  do  not  dream. 

It  is  worth  thinking  about,  partly  because  the 
same  sort  of  thing  is  to  be  met  with  in  other  realms 
than  in  that  of  music.  It  is  not  merely  that  love 
lends  to  life  a  new  interest,  a  new  rapture,  or  even 
a  new  outlook.  Everybody  recalls  the  lines  of 
Tennyson's  'Lover'.: 

io8  The  Luggage  of  Life 

Let  no  one  ask  me  how  it  came  to  pass, 
It  seems  that  I  am  happy,  that  for  me 

A  greener  emerald  twinkles  in  the  grass, 
A  bluer  sapphire  melts  into  the  sea. 

But  the  suggestion  in  the  letter  that  lies  before 
me  goes  further  than  that.  It  means,  if  it  means 
anything,  that  love  liberates  powers  which  before 
were  simply  latent.  An  Arctic  explorer  has  re- 
cently drawn  our  attention  to  a  most  singular  phe- 
nomenon. He  tells  us  that  some  years  ago  a  party 
of  British  sailors  landed  on  an  isle  in  the  frozen 
North,  and,  by  some  mischance,  set  fire  to  the 
stunted  vegetation  that  scantily  clothed  the  inhospi- 
table place.  They  left  it  a  bare  and  blackened  rock. 
A  few  years  later  another  party  landed  and  found 
it  clothed  with  a  forest  of  silver  birch-trees,  with 
stems  that  glittered  in  the  sunlight  and  leaves  that 
quivered  in  the  wind.  It  was  a  scene  of  sylvan  love- 
liness. The  flames  had  awakened  slumbering  seeds 
which,  in  the  cruel  grip  of  the  icy  cold,  had  lain 
dormant  throughout  the  years.  The  wilderness  had 
blossomed  like  the  rose.  Now  the  letter  suggests 
that,  when  the  soul  of  a  man  is  stirred  and  swept 
by  life's  most  masterful  passion,  new  and  unsus- 
pected powers  spring  into  activity  and  fruition. 

Two  instances  leap  to  mind.  I  suppose  Scottish 
literature  holds  no  lovelier  gem  than  the  famous 

On  Falling  in  Love  109 

letter  of  Dr.  John  Brown  to  Dr.  John  Cairns.  It  is 
printed  in  Rob  and  his  Friends.  In  that  letter  Dr. 
Brown  tells  the  pathetic  story  of  Dr.  Belfrage.  Dr. 
Bel f rage's  wife  was  a  lady  of  great  sweetness  and 
delicacy.  After  less  than  a  year  of  singular  and 
unbroken  happiness,  she  suddenly  died.  The  doctor 
was  disconsolate,  and  his  grief  was  intensified  by  the 
reflection  that  there  existed  no  portrait  of  his  lost 
love.  He  resolved  that  there  should  be  one.  He 
had  not  an  idea  of  painting.  He  had  never  touched 
an  easel.  He  went  to  the  nearest  art  emporium, 
procured  all  the  necessary  materials,  shut  himself 
up  in  unbroken  solitude  for  fourteen  days,  and  at 
the  end  of  that  time  emerged  from  his  seclusion 
bearing  a  portrait  of  his  late  bride  which  became  the 
admiration  of  all  who  were  privileged  to  behold  it. 
'I  do  not  know  of  anything,'  says  Dr.  Brown,  'more 
remarkable  in  the  history  of  human  sorrow  and 

The  other  case  is,  of  course,  that  of  Quintin 
Matsys.  He  was  a  Flemish  blacksmith.  He  be- 
came deeply  enamoured  of  the  daughter  of  a  painter ; 
but  the  painter  had  vowed  that  his  daughter  should 
marry  none  but  a  distinguished  master  of  his  own 
craft.  Matsys  laid  down  his  hammer  and  left  the 
forge;  he  entered  a  studio,  and  seized  the  brush. 
And  to-day — four  centuries  after  his  death — pil- 

no  The  Luggage  of  Life 

grims  and  tourists  cross  Europe  to  gaze  upon  the 
mystery  of  his  'Descent  from  the  Cross'  in  Ant- 
werp Cathedral,  and  his  'Two  Misers'  at  Windsor. 
Ella  Wheeler  Wilcox,  with  her  usual  subtlety  and 
discernment,  has  sung  to  us  in  a  similar  strain : 

Though  critics  may  bow  to  art,  and  I  am  its  own  true 

It  is  not  Art,  but  Heart,  which  wins  the  wide  world  over. 

Though  perfect  the  player's  touch,  little  if  any  he  sways  us, 

Unless  we  feel  his  heart  throb  through  the  music  he  plays 

It  is  not  the  artist's  skill  which  into  our  souls  comes  steal- 

With  a  joy  that  is  almost  pain,  but  it  is  the  player's  feeling. 

I  have  thought — though  I  hesitate  to  say  it — that 
all  this  may  explain  a  mystery  otherwise  incapable 
of  solution.  I  speak  as  to  wise  men.  Many  of  us 
are  teachers,  officers,  ministers,  and  the  like.  We 
are  frequently  confronted  with  doleful  cries  and  still 
more  doleful  facts.  Here  are  articles  on  'The 
Dearth  of  Conversions/  and  here  are  plaintive 
papers  on  'The  Arrested  Progress  of  the  Church.' 
Has  my  theme  nothing  to  do  with  it  ?  I  fancy  it  has. 
May  not  the  ministry  of  the  preacher,  like  the 
music  of  the  player,  lack  that  subtle  element  of  pas- 
sion that  makes  just  all  the  difference?  I  fancy  I 
detect  in  my  own  ministry  sometimes — I  will  not 

On  Falling  in  Love  m 

dare  to  speak  of  the  work  of  others — that  very  self- 
same 'coldness  and  aloofness'  which  the  lack  of  love 
explained  in  the  distinguished  pianist.  'Though  I 
speak  with  the  tongues  of  men  and  of  angels,  and 
have  not  love,  I  am  become  as  sounding  brass  and  a 
tinkling  cymbal.'  It  is  a  very  old  complaint,  but 
none  the  less  tragic  on  that  account.  We  take  it 
for  granted  that  we  preach  Christ  because  we  love 
Christ ;  but  is  the  assumption  always  safe  ?  May  we 
not  rather  cry,  with  Tennyson's  poor  fallen  queen  ? — 

Ah,  my  God, 

What  might  I  not  have  made  of  Thy  fair  world 
Had  I  but  loved  Thy  highest  creature  here? 
It  was  my  duty  to  have  loved  the  highest! 

'The  more  I  love  Christ/  exclaimed  Gustave 
Dore,  'the  better  I  can  paint  Him !'  Of  course !  The 
most  accomplished,  the  most  biblical,  the  most 
evangelical  ministry  may,  after  all,  resemble  the 
playing  of  our  European  professor — 'an  indescrib- 
able coldness,  a  strange  aloofness' — one  thing  lack- 
ing. There  can  be  no  doubt  that  Love  exercises 
singular  influences  and  wields  potent  charms.  'Had 
I  but  loved!'  cries  poor  Queen  Guinevere  in  the 
anguish  of  her  remorse.  But  no  minister  or  teacher 
can  afford  to  risk  the  visitation  of  that  most 
poignant  and  pitiful  regret. 



IN  his  scathing  criticism  of  Bertrand  Barere, 
Macaulay  tells  us  that  the  subject  of  his  strictures 
was  a  man  who  employed  'phrases  in  which  orators 
of  his  class  delight,  and  which,  on  all  men  who  have 
the  smallest  insight  into  politics,  produce  an  effect 
very  similar  to  that  of  ipecacuanha.'  I  am  afraid 
that,  if  the  expressive  condemnation  which  the  his- 
torian thus  sheeted  home  upon  the  world  of  politics 
were  to  be  aimed  in  the  direction  of  the  Christian 
Church,  she  could  not,  without  some  equivocation, 
resist  the  dread  impeachment.  There  is  a  classical 
Scripture  example  of  the  same  phenomenon.  Thou- 
sands of  years  ago  a  tortured  soul  sat  patiently 
listening  to  the  painful  platitudes  of  his  would-be 
comforters.  They  endeavoured  to  propound  to  him 
the  significance  of  the  afflictions  by  which  he  was 
overwhelmed.  And  when  the  last  echo  of  the 
philosophy  of  Eliphaz  had  trembled  away  into 
silence,  poor  Job  found  himself  impressed  with 


Ipecacuanha  113 

nothing  so  much  as  with  its  utter  insipidity.  And 
it  was  then  that  he  sighed  out  his  immortal  question : 
'Is  there  any  taste  in  the  white  of  an  egg?'  The  dis- 
course to  which  he  had  listened  had  'produced  an 
effect  very  similar  to  that  of  ipecacuanha/ 

But  that  was  in  the  days  when  the  world  was  very 
young  and  men  knew  very  little.  Yet  the  same 
thing  happens  every  day.  Sir  J.  R.  Seeley  says,  in 
Ecce  Homo,  that  the  sin  which  Christ  most  vigor- 
ously denounced  is  the  sin  to  which  the  modern 
Church  is  most  prone — the  sin  of  insipidity.  The 
pious  commonplaces  with  which  we  glibly  attempt 
to  solace  the  suffering  are  often  pathetically  taste- 
less. The  man  whose  darling  hopes  have  'been 
cruelly  shattered  is  told,  with  a  serene  smile  and  an 
upward  glance,  that  'it  might  have  been  worse.' 
The  man  whose  heart  is  bleeding,  and  worse  than 
broken,  is  reminded  that  'these  things  cannot  be 
helped.'  We  indolently  surmise  that  'it  is  all  for 
the  best.'  Tennyson  tells  us  of  the  pallid  consola- 
tions which  were  offered  him  in  that  awful  hour 
when  the  man  with  whom  his  soul  was  knit  was 
snatched  away  to  a  premature  grave : 

One  writes  that  'Other  friends  remain,' 

That  'loss  is  common  to  the  race' ; 

And  common  is  the  commonplace, 
And  vacant  chaff  well  meant  for  grain. 

ii4  The  Luggage  of  Life 

That  loss  is  common  does  not  make 

My  own  less  bitter,  rather  more; 

Too  common !     Never  morning  wore 
To  evening  but  some  heart  did  break. 

In  other  words,  the  poet  asked :  Is  there  any  taste 
in  the  white  of  an  egg?  The  comfort  was  insipid, 
tasteless;  it  produced  an  effect  very  similar  to  that 
of  ipecacuanha\ 

Now,  quite  obviously,  here  is  an  evil  thing  and  a 
bitter.  We  have  no  right  to  play  with  crushed 
spirits  and  breaking  hearts.  'A  man  in  distress/ 
says  John  Foster,  'has  peculiarly  a  right  not  to  be 
trifled  with  by  the  application  of  unadapted  ex- 
pedients; since  insufficient  consolations  but  mock 
him,  and  deceptive  consolations  betray  him.'  I  re- 
member very  vividly  a  circumstance  of  my  child- 
hood. It  was  my  first  introduction  to  the  problem 
of  human  loss,  and  it  profoundly  affected  me.  I 
chanced  to  be  standing,  on  a  sunny  afternoon,  by 
the  gates  of  the  local  infirmary.  It  was  visiting  day. 
As  I  watched  the  relatives  arriving  I  was  struck 
with  the  appearance  of  a  big,  brawny  man  from  the 
country.  He  made  no  secret  of  his  excitement.  He 
had  evidently  counted  the  hours,  and  had  spruced 
himself  up  like  a  village  bridegroom  for  the  occa- 
sion. He  approached  the  porter :  'I've  come  to  see 
my  wife,  Martha  Jennings,'  he  said.  The  porter 

Ipecacuanha  115 

consulted  a  book,  and  then,  with  what  seemed  to  be 
brutal  abruptness,  replied:  'Martha  Jennings  is 
dead!'  I  saw  the  bronzed  face  blanch;  I  saw  the 
strong  man  stagger.  I  watched  him  as  he  clung  to 
the  iron  palings  for  support,  and  bowed  himself  in 
a  passion  of  weeping.  And  then,  as  I  stood  there, 
good-natured  people,  pitying,  essayed  to  comfort 
him.  They  rang  the  changes  on  the  commonplaces. 
'Other  friends  remain !'  'Loss  is  common  to  the  race  !* 
But  it  was  of  no  use :  'All  vacant  chaff  well  meant 
for  grain.'  It  produced  an  effect  very  similar  to 
that  of  ipecacuanha!  I  have  never  entered  the 
chamber  of  death  in  all  the  years  of  my  ministry 
without  recalling  the  tragedy  I  witnessed  that  Sun- 
day afternoon. 

Now,  in  the  cases  before  us,  what  was  wrong? 
This  was  wrong.  In  all  these  platitudes  that  were 
tossed  to  Tennyson  and  to  my  friend  at  the  hospital 
yesterday,  and  to  Job  the  day  before,  four  vital 
aspects  of  suffering  were  overlooked. 

i.  Our  commonplaces  of  comfort  are  insipid  be- 
cause they  ignored  the  illuminative  aspect  of 
anguish.  We  forget  the  flood  of  light  that  streams 
from  the  Cross  and  that  has  transfigured  tears  for 
ever.  Such  frigid  philosophy  as  that  which  we  have 
quoted  can  be  found  in  Marcus  Aurelius,  in  Plato, 
and  in  all  the  stoical  philosophers.  And  in  them  it 

n6  The  Luggage  of  Life 

is  pardonable,  even  admirable.  But  from  those  who 
live  in  the  light,  better  things  are  hoped.  Christ 
has  come!  And  from  His  disciples  the  weep- 
ing sons  of  sorrow  expect,  not  the  stone  that  would 
have  been  flung  them  by  the  Platonic  school- 
master, but  the  bread  and  wine  of  the  kingdom  of 

2.  The  insipidity  of  our  consolations  often  arises 
from  the  fact  that  we  ignore  the  purgatorial  aspect 
of  pain.  As  though  the  torments  of  his  body  were 
not  enough,  Eliphaz  tortured  the  soul  of  Job  by  tell- 
ing him  that  purity  and  pain  were  incompatible,  and 
that  his  suffering  was  the  result  of  his  sin.  'Who 
ever  suffered  being  innocent?'  he  stupidly  asks.  It 
is  the  philosophy  of  the  pessimist.  It  relates  all 
suffering  to  a  black,  black  past  as  penal.  But  the 
theology  of  the  optimist  relates  all  suffering  to  a 
bright,  bright  future  as  purgatorial.  Poor  Eliphaz 
did  not  know,  but  we  ought  not  to  forget  that  a  lamb 
which  was  ever  the  emblem  of  innocence  has  become 
also  the  symbol  of  suffering.  If  the  doctrine  of 
Eliphaz  were  sound,  the  sufferer  can  only  grin  and 
bear  it.  But  it  is  not  sound.  And  therefore  the 
New  Testament  selects,  as  its  word  for  suffering, 
the  great  word  'tribulation,'  which  reminds  us  of  the 
'tribulum/  the  threshing-machine  whose  work  is  not 
to  punish  the  wheat,  but  to  sift  it.  The  fires  of  God 

Ipecacuanha  117 

are  never  to  devour,  but  ever  to  refine.  It  was  be- 
cause Eliphaz  failed  to  remind  Job  of  this  that  his 
hearers  found  the  sermon  so  tedious.  It  made  him 
cry,  as  with  Hamlet: 

O  God !    O  God ! 
How  weary,  stale,  flat,  and  unprofitable ! 

It  produced  an  effect  very  similar  to  that  of 
ipecacuanha ! 

3.  The  insipidity  is  always  manifest  when  the 
sacrificial  aspect  of  suffering  is  ignored.  There  is  a 
sense  in  which  every  sob  is  a  sacrament.  The  sign 
of  the  Cross  is  stamped  on  all  human  anguish.  You 
suffer  for  my  good,  and  I  bear  sorrow  for  yours. 
Dickens  unfolds  this  wonderful  secret  in  David 
Copperfield.  Mrs.  Gummidge  is  the  most  self- 
centred,  ill-content,  cross-grained  woman  in  Yar- 
mouth. Then  comes  the  angel  of  sorrow.  All  those 
around  her  are  plunged  in  the  shadow  of  a  terrible 
calamity.  And,  in  ministering  to  them,  the  whole 
life  and  character  of  Mrs.  Gummidge  was  trans- 
figured. David  stood  in  amazement  before  the 
strange  and  beautiful  transformation. 

If  none  were  sick  and  none  were  sad, 

What  service  could  we  render? 
I  think  if  we  were  always  glad, 

We  scarcely  could  be  tender. 

n  8  The  Luggage  of  Life 

Did  our  beloved  never  need 

Our   patient   ministration, 
Earth  would  grow  cold,  and  miss,  indeed, 

Its  sweetest  consolation. 

If  sorrow  never  claimed  our  heart, 

And  every  wish  were  granted, 
Patience  would  die,  and  hope  depart — 

Life  would  be  disenchanted. 

4.  And  the  insipidity  of  our  consolations  often 
arises  from  their  neglect  of  the  positive  or  possessive 
aspect  of  human  loss.  Whatever  has  been  swept 
away  in  the  terrible  cataclysm,  the  best  always  re- 
mains. In  Lord  Beaconsfield's  great  novel  he  tells 
how  Coningsby,  in  bemoaning  the  loss  of  his  fortune, 
is  suddenly  reminded  that  he  still  possesses  his  limbs. 
In  The  Scapegoat  Hall  Caine  tells  how  Israel  left  his 
little  blind  and  deaf  and  dumb  daughter  Naomi,  and 
wandered  through  the  wilderness  of  this  world. 
And  he  saw  a  slave-girl  sold  in  the  market-place, 
and  he  thanked  God  that  his  Naomi  was  free.  And 
he  heard  the  girl  curse  her  father,  and  he  thanked 
God  for  the  deep  love  of  poor  little  Naomi.  And  he 
saw  a  poor  little  girl  that  was  a  lunatic,  and  he 
thanked  God  that  Naomi  had  her  reason  clear.  And 
then  the  great  deprivations  of  Naomi  seemed  swal- 
lowed up  in  the  treasures  that  she  still  possessed. 
As  Mrs.  Browning  sings : 

Ipecacuanha  119 

All  are  not  taken;  there  are  left  behind 
Living  Beloveds,  tender  looks  to  bring, 
And  make  the  daylight  still  a  happy  thing, 

And  tender  voices  to  make  soft  the  wind. 

That  is  a  great  sentence  of  two  words  that  the 
Mohammedan  always  engraves  on  the  tombstones 
of  his  departed :  God  remains!  Let  us  but  cast  these 
four  ingredients  into  the  chalice  of  comfort  that 
we  are  preparing  for  the  quivering  lips  of  our  weep- 
ing friends,  and,  so  far  from  it  producing  an  effect 
that  shall  resemble  ipecacuanha,  it  shall  seem  to  them 
as  bracing  and  invigorating  as  the  new  wine  of  the 
kingdom  of  heaven. 

I  AM  writing  on  a  hot  Australian  summer  after- 
noon. The  children  are  at  home  from  school.  The 
cities  are  sultry  and  stifling.  The  delicious  seclu- 
sion of  the  fields  and  the  refreshing  cool  of  the  sea- 
side beckon  us  away.  The  bush  and  the  beach  call 
loudly.  And  even  the  solitudes  seem  to  feel  that 
their  time  has  come.  The  wilderness  blossoms  like 
the  rose.  Settlements  that  all  through  the  winter 
have  been  dreary  desolations  of  mud  and  monotony 
become  transformed  into  fairylands  of  poetry  and 
romance.  The  great  bush  silences  are  broken  by 
shouts  of  merriment  and  peals  of  laughter.  Columns 
of  smoke  curl  upwards,  and  bear  witness  to  picnics 
and  camp-fires.  Boats  dart  in  and  out  of  every 
quiet  creek  and  cove.  Birds  that  have  twittered  and 
piped  on  dripping  boughs  throughout  the  winter 
without  an  audience  are  frightened  hither  and 
thither  by  a  rush  of  white  blouses  and  straw  hats. 
It  is  all  very  refreshing  and  very  delightful.  But, 

1 20 

Seaside  Lodgings  121 

with  the  return  of  the  holiday  season,  comes  back 
the  old  problem  of  seaside  lodgings  and  holiday 
accommodation.  Which  reminds  me. 

Lovers  of  Mark  Rutherford — and  the  number  in- 
cludes all  who  know  him — will  never  forget  Mary 
Mardon.  She  casts  her  tender  spell  over  every 
fascinating  page.  And  not  least  among  her  charms 
is  her  description  of  her  visit,  with  her  father,  to 
the  seaside.  'The  railway  station  was  in  a  dis- 
agreeable part  of  the  town,  and  when  we  came  out 
we  walked  along  a  dismal  row  of  very  plain-looking 
houses.  There  were  cards  in  the  window  with 
"Lodgings"  written  on  them,  and  father  wanted  to 
go  in  and  ask  the  terms.  I  said  I  did  not  wish  to 
stay  in  such  a  dull  street,  but  father  could  not  afford 
to  pay  for  a  sea-view,  and  so  we  went  in  to  inquire. 
We  then  found  that  what  we  thought  were  the 
fronts  of  the  houses  were  the  backs,  and  that  the 
•fronts  faced  the  bay.  They  had  pretty  gardens  on 
the  other  side,  and  a  glorious,  sunny  prospect  over 
the  ocean.' 

So  much  for  Mark  Rutherford  and  Mary  Mar- 
don. I  fancy  this  kind  of  thing  is  more  common 
than  we  often  think.  The  lodgings  from  which  we 
eventually  obtain  our  loveliest  views  are  frequently 
rather  forbidding  than  prepossessing.  They  ban 
rather  than  beckon.  We  dub  those  dwellings  dull 

i22  The  Luggage  of  Life 

from  whose  windows  we  afterwards  catch  glimpses 
of  radiant  glory. 

For  the  most  obvious  application  of  this  homely 
truth  we  need  not  go  beyond  the  delightful  charac- 
ters whom  we  have  already  introduced.  Turn  back 
a  few  pages  to  Mark's  first  meeting  with  Mary. 
Whilst  he  debated  vigorously  with  her  father  she 
sat  silently  by.  He  mentally  accused  her  of  intel- 
lectual paucity,  of  possessing  a  small  mind,  and  of 
a  stupid  inability  to  discuss  important  themes.  He 
looked  upon  her  exactly  as  she  had  looked  upon 
the  repulsive  houses  by  the  seaside.  But  he  was  as 
utterly  mistaken  as  was  she.  It  turned  out  that  she 
was  being  tortured  that  evening  by  a  maddening 
neuralgia.  He  then  penitently  reflected  that,  had 
such  anguish  been  his,  he  would  have  let  all  the 
world  know  of  it.  And,  he  says,  'thinking  about 
Mary  as  I  walked  home,  I  perceived  that  her  ability 
to  be  quiet,  to  subdue  herself,  to  resist  for  a  whole 
evening  the  temptation  to  draw  attention  to  herself 
by  telling  us  what  she  was  enduring,  was  heroism, 
and  that  my  contrary  tendency  was  pitiful  vanity. 
I  perceived  that  such  virtues  as  patience  and  self- 
denial — which,  clad  in  russet  dress,  I  had  often 
passed  by  unnoticed  when  I  had  found  them  amongst 
the  poor  or  the  humble — were  more  precious  and 
more  ennobling  to  their  possessor  than  poetic  yearn- 

Seaside  Lodgings  123 

ings  or  the  power  to  propound  rhetorically  to 
the  world  my  grievances  or  agonies.'  This  experi- 
ence of  Mark  Rutherford  in  relation  to  Mary 
Mardon  is  clearly  the  precise  social  counterpart 
of  her  own  experience  in  relation  to  the  seaside 
lodgings.  And  later  on,  as  every  reader  knows,  she 
gave  to  him,  as  the  lodgings  gave  to  her,  many 
a  glorious  outlook  upon  the  infinite  and  the 

All  this  is,  of  course,  true  of  the  Church.  The 
men  of  Jerusalem  looked  up  at  the  spacious  and 
splendid  proportions  of  the  Temple.  It  was  a 
stately  pile  of  quarried  stone.  That  was  the  outside 
view.  But  those  who  were  permitted  to  stand 
amidst  the  awful  sanctities  of  the  Most  Holy  Place 
saw  that,  within,  all  was  of  finest  gold.  It  is  a 
parable.  Readers  of  Bunyan's  immortal  allegory 
must  have  noticed  that  the  illustrious  dreamer  took 
no  pains  to  give  an  attractive  impression  of  the  ex- 
terior of  the  Palace  Beautiful.  But,  like  the  king's 
daughter,  it  was  'all  glorious  within.'  And  notice 
this:  'When  the  morning  was  up  they  had 
Christian  to  the  top  of  the  palace,  and  bid  him 
look  south.  And,  behold,  at  a  great  distance,  he 
saw  a  most  pleasant,  mountainous  country,  beau- 
tified with  woods,  vineyards,  fruits  of  all  sorts, 
flowers  also,  with  springs,  and  fountains,  very 

124  The  Luggage  of  Life 

delectable  to  behold.  Then  he  asked  the  name 
of  the  country;  they  said  it  was  IMMANUEI/S 

We  have  no  word  to  say  in  disparagement  of 
those  who  devote  their  best  efforts  to  the  attempt 
to  render  the  Church  attractive  and  alluring.  But 
we  venture  to  suspect  that  their  most  strenuous 
exertions  will  never  meet  with  more  than  a  very 
moderate  success.  After  you  have  insisted,  and 
rightly  insisted,  that  there  should  be  no  oratory 
to  compare  with  pulpit  oratory,  and  no  music  that 
can  hold  its  own  beside  church  music,  you  have  still 
to  admit  that,  so  long  as  the  Church  sternly  adheres 
to  that  spiritual  programme  for  which  alone  she 
stands,  she  will  always  appear,  like  Mary  Mardon's 
seaside  lodgings,  somewhat  forbidding  and  repel- 
lent. Christian  worship  is  too  exquisitely  modest 
for  gaudy  display.  Sin,  righteousness,  and  judge- 
ment are  not  themes  that  lend  themselves  to  merri- 
ment. There  is  nothing  wildly  exciting  about  a 
prayer-meeting.  Yet,  like  the  seaside  lodgings  and 
the  Palace  Beautiful,  the  Church  has  her  own  pecu- 
liar and  compensating  charms.  She  quickly  dis- 
pels all  unhappy  illusions  caused  by  superficial  im- 
pressions. To  those  who  enter  her  portals  she  offers 
coigns  of  vantage  from  which  they  may  inhale  the 
delicious  fragrance  of  the  fairest  flowers  and  enjoy 

Seaside  Lodgings  125 

a  prospect  that  ravishes  the  vision  and  captivates  the 

And,  after  all,  it  is  just  that  view  for  which  we 
are  all  hungry.  I  have  amused  myself,  since  taking 
Mark  Rutherford  down  from  my  shelf  for  the  pur- 
poses of  this  article,  by  turning  over  the  pages 
hastily,  and  noticing  his  constant  references  to  star- 
lit walks.  Now  he  is  worried,  and  that  sight  of  the 
stars — that  sense  of  the  infinite — 'extinguishes  all 
mean  cares/  On  another  occasion  he  is  oppressed 
by  the  conviction  that  'there  is  nothing  in  him.' 
He  walks  beneath  the  stars  and  feels  that,  in  a 
universe  of  such  incomprehensible  immensity,  there 
is  room  for  every  worm  that  crawls,  and,  therefore, 
a  place  for  him.  Again,  he  is  aflame  with  anger. 
He  walks  beneath  the  stars,  and,  'reflecting  on  the 
great  idea  of  God,  and  on  all  that  it  involves,  his 
animosities  are  softened  and  his  heat  against  his 
brother  is  cooled.'  We  have  found  at  least  a  dozen 
such  passages  in  this  one  book.  They  are  sugges- 
tive. Mark  Rutherford  surely  means  that  the  in- 
finite cures  everything.  He  means  that,  to  conquer 
our  besetments,  to  subdue  our  passions,  to  realize 
our  best  selves,  we  need  the  window  open  toward 
Jerusalem,  the  sunny  outlook  on  the  eternal.  And 
he  means,  too,  that  to  obtain  that  vision  splendid  we 
dare  not  despise  the  most  uninviting  ministries.  'A 

i26  The  Luggage  of  Life 

dismal  row  of  plain-looking  houses' — so  they 
seemed.  'What  we  thought  were  the  fronts  were 
the  backs,  and  the  fronts  faced  the  bay.  They  had 
pretty  gardens  on  the  other  side,  and  a  glorious 
sunny  prospect  over  the  ocean' — so  they  actually 

Somebody  has  said  that  God  must  be  very  fond 
of  commonplace  folk — He  makes  so  many  of  them. 
Life  is  full  of  dingy-looking  places  and  shabby- 
looking  people.  But  we  shall  do  well  to  think  the 
thing  all  over  again  before,  on  that  ground,  we 
exclude  them  from  our  affections  and  our  confidence. 
As  the  years  come  and  go  we  learn  that  the  best 
and  most  satisfying  springs  are  those  from  which, 
on  their  discovery,  we  expected  least.  Our  most 
treasured  friends  are  not  always  those  with  whom 
we  fell  in  love  at  first  sight.  In  his  wonderful  Life 
of  the  Bee  Maeterlinck  tells  us  at  least  one  thing  to 
which  we  may  do  well  to  take  heed.  At  one  time, 
he  says,  it  was  almost  impossible  to  introduce  into 
a  hive  an  alien  queen.  The  myriad  toilers  would 
at  once  assume  that  she  was  an  enemy,  and  set  about 
her  destruction.  But  now  the  apiarist  introduces 
the  new  queen  in  an  iron  cage,  with  a  door  skilfully 
constructed  of  wax  and  honey.  The  bees  im- 
mediately commence  to  gnaw  their  way  through 
the  door  to  murder  the  intruder;  but,  in  the  tedious 

Seaside  Lodgings  127 

process,  they  are  compelled  carefully  to  observe  the 
royal  prisoner.  And,  by  the  time  that  the  waxen 
palisade  is  demolished,  they  have  learned  to  love 
her;  and  they  finish  up  by  doing  her  homage  and 
becoming  her  devoted  slaves.  So  true  is  it  that  the 
forbidding  may  eventually  become  the  fascinating; 
the  repulsive  may  end  in  the  romantic;  the  prose 
may  kindle  into  poetry;  the  sombre  shadows  may 
dissolve  into  radiant  reality;  the  dingy  lodgings 
may  open  to  us  dazzling  horizons;  life's  mocking 
mirages  often  pass  into  most  satisfying  streams. 

If  it  comes  to  attractive  exteriors  and  enticing 
advertisements,  theology  cannot  hold  a  candle  to 
theatricals,  nor  prayer-meetings  to  picture-shows. 
But  they  have  most  radiant  outlooks  for  all  that. 
And  have  we  not  somewhere  read  of  One  who  is 
spoken  of  by  those  who  are  happy  enough  to  know 
Him  as  the  fairest  among  ten  thousand  and  the 
altogether  lovely?  Yet,  when  first  they  saw  Him, 
He  was  to  them  as  a  root  out  of  a  dry  ground,  hav- 
ing no  beauty  that  they  should  desire  Him!  But 
I  have  said  enough  by  this  time  to  show  that  the 
experiences  of  Mark  Rutherford  and  Mary  Mardon 
have  warnings  of  the  gravest  moment  for  us  all. 


MRS.  BARCLAY,  in  The  Rosary,  says  a  fine  thing 
about  those  towering  walls  of  chalk  that  guard  the 
English  coast.  She  describes  her  heroine — the  Hon. 
Jane  Champion — returning  to  England  after  an 
absence  of  two  years.  'The  white  cliffs  of  Dover/ 
she  says,  'gradually  became  more  solid  and  distinct, 
until  at  length  they  rose  from  the  sea,  a  strong 
white  wall,  emblem  of  the  undeniable  purity  of 
England,  the  stainless  honour  and  integrity  of  her 
throne,  her  Church,  her  Parliament,  her  courts  of 
justice,  and  her  dealings  at  home  and  abroad, 
whether  with  friend  or  foe.  Strength  and  White- 
ness! thought  Jane,  as  she  paced  the  steamer's 
deck ;  and,  after  a  two  years'  absence,  her  heart  went 
out  to  her  native  land.' 

'Strength  and  Whiteness' — those  two  are  in- 

The  principle  holds,  of  course,  in  the  realm  to 
which  Mrs.  Barclay  specially  applies  it.  Nobody 
who  has  once  read  Macaulay's  essay  on  Lord  Clive 
can  ever  forget  the  classic  and  stately  sentences  in 


The  Cliffs  of  Dover  129 

which  the  historian  pays  his  tribute  to  British  rule 
in  India.  He  shows  that  the  stability  of  our  govern- 
ment lies  in  its  justice,  its  uprightness,  its  trust- 
worthiness. "English  valour  and  English  intelli- 
gence,' he  says,  'have  done  less  to  extend  and  to 
preserve  our  oriental  empire  than  English  veracity. 
All  that  we  could  have  gained  by  imitating  the 
doublings,  the  evasions,  the  fictions,  the  perjuries, 
which  have  been  employed  against  us  is  as  nothing 
when  compared  with  what  we  have  gained  by  being 
the  one  Power  in  India  on  whose  word  reliance 
can  be  placed.  No  oath  which  superstition  can 
devise,  no  hostage,  however  precious,  inspires  a 
hundredth  part  of  the  confidence  which  is  produced 
by  the  "Yea,  yea"  and  "Nay,  nay"  of  a  British 
envoy.  The  greatest  advantage  which  a  Govern- 
ment can  possess  is  to  be  the  one  trustworthy  Gov- 
ernment in  the  midst  of  Governments  which  nobody 
can  trust.  This  advantage  we  enjoy  in  Asia.'  It 
would  be  difficult  to  subpoena  a  witness  more  im- 
pressive or  convincing. 

But  there  is  one  most  pertinent  application  of 
the  principle  for  which,  it  seems  to  me,  the  times 
are  clamorously  and  insistently  calling.  In  thase 
lands,  and  in  these  days,  two  truths  demand  itera- 
tion and  emphasis  in  relation  to  all  matters  of 
politics  and  all  affairs  of  State.  Let  it  be  said,  as 

130  The  Luggage  of  Life 

plainly  as  language  can  assert  it,  first  of  all  that  the 
nation  needs  strong  men,  and  then  that  the  strong 
men  are  the  white  men.  That  people  has  fallen  on 
very  evil  days  that  finds  itself  in  the  grip,  and  at  the 
mercy,  of  the  professional  politician.  A  pair  of 
instances,  both  very  much  to  the  point,  will  enforce 
my  meaning.  The  first  is  from  Sir  James  Stephen's 
Essays  in  Ecclesiastical  Biography.  The  professor 
points  out  that  William  Wilberf  orce  lived  his  parlia- 
mentary life  as  a  contemporary  of  William  Pitt, 
Edmund  Burke,  Charles  James  Fox,  and  Richard 
Brinsley  Sheridan.  Here  was  a  galaxy  of  brilliance 
— the  most  polished  and  powerful  orators  who  ever 
awoke  the  classic  echoes  of  St.  Stephen's !  Wilber- 
force's  figure  conveyed  the  inevitable  impression  of 
insignificance.  Yet  when  he  rose  to  address  the 
Commons  the  House  instantly  crowded.  Members 
held  their  breaths  to  listen.  The  little  reformer 
spoke  with  an  authority  rarely  wielded  by  the 
greatest  masters.  He  was  heard  in  a  silence,  and 
with  a  respect,  which  were  never  accorded  to  those 
illustrious  statesmen  whose  utterances  are  to  this 
day  read  in  schools  and  colleges  as  models  of 
rhetoric.  And  why?  There  is  only  one  reason  for 
it.  Like  Sir  Galahad — 

His  strength  was  as  the  strength  of  ten, 
Because  his  heart  was  pure. 

The  Clifis  of  Dover  131 

The  second  of  these  companion  pictures  is  from 
Sir  Henry  W.  Lucy's  Sixty  Years  in  the  Wilder- 
ness. In  the  last  chapter  of  this  fascinating  book 
the  author  draws  a  striking  contrast  between  John 
Bright  and  Benjamin  Disraeli.  'Disraeli,'  he  says, 
'lacked  two  qualities,  failing  which  true  eloquence 
is  impossible :  he  was  never  quite  in  earnest,  and  he 
was  not  troubled  by  dominating  conviction/  Now 
for  the  contrast.  'John  Bright,  perhaps  the  finest 
orator  known  to  the  House  of  Commons  in  the  last 
half  of  the  nineteenth  century,  was  morally  and 
politically  the  antithesis  of  Disraeli.  To  a  public 
man  this  atmosphere  of  acknowledged  sincerity  and 
honest  conviction  is  a  mighty  adjunct  of  power/ 
Here,  then,  in  both  pictures,  we  have  the  conjunc- 
tion of  whiteness  and  strength;  incorruptibility 
wedded  to  omnipotence.  This  marriage  was  made 
in  heaven.  These  two  God  hath  joined  together. 

I  have  emphasized  the  national  and  political 
aspect  of  the  truth  because  the  conviction  grows 
upon  me  that  we  sadly  need  the  reminder.  But 
I  should  be  exceedingly  sorry  to  leave  the  impres- 
sion that  the  application  was  by  any  means  exclu- 
sive. It  is  just  as  true  of  every  walk  of  life  and  of 
every  department  of  service.  I  turn  the  lantern  on 
my  own  heart  and  study  and  pulpit,  and  upon  those 
of  my  brethren.  In  a  recently  published  work,  the 

132  The  Luggage  of  Life 

Rev.  J.  D.  Jones,  of  Bournemouth,  says  a  very 
gracious  thing  concerning  a  ministerial  friend  of 
his:  'In  print  his  sermons  are  almost  dull,  as  they 
are  certainly  lacking  in  literary  style.  But  when 
you  come  into  his  presence,  the  transparent  honesty 
and  obvious  saintliness  of  the  man  lend  to  his  words 
compelling  and  subduing  force.'  'I  cannot  under- 
stand your  minister's  power,'  said  a  visitor  to  a 
friend  of  mine  who  was  a  member  of  a  Midland 
church  to  which  a  man  ministered  who  was  not  a 
great  preacher,  perhaps,  but  who  was  a  great  saint ; 
'I  cannot  understand  your  minister's  power/  he 
said;  'I  do  not  see  very  much  in  him.'  'Ah,'  re- 
plied the  host,  'you  see,  there  are  thirty  years  of 
holy  life  behind  every  sermon.'  There  is  no  doubt 
about  it.  Whiteness  is  strength.  The  white  men 
wield  the  sceptre,  and  we  are  all  their  slaves. 

But  the  last  word  has  yet  to  be  said.  A  most 
interesting  play  of  language  occurs  in  the  last  book 
of  the  Bible:  'I  saw  a  strong  angel  proclaiming 
with  a  loud  voice,  Who  is  worthy  to  open  the  book 
and  to  loose  the  seals  thereof?  And  no  man  in 
heaven,  nor  in  earth,  neither  under  the  earth,  was 
able  to  open  the  book,  neither  to  look  thereon.'  It 
will  be  noticed  that  the  words  worthy  and  able  are 
treated  as  though  they  were  interchangeable  and 
synonymous,  as  indeed  they  are.  The  worthy  are 

The  Cliffs  of  Dover  133 

the  able.  Whiteness  is  strength.  Might  is  not 
always  right,  but  right  is  always  might.  God  is  not 
always  on  the  side  of  the  big  battalions,  but  the  big 
battalions  are  always  on  the  side  of  God.  That  is 
why  the  meek  inherit  the  earth.  'And  I  beheld,  and 
lo,  a  Lamb — sublimest  symbol  of  innocence,  white- 
ness, meekness — and  He  came  and  took  the  book. 
And  they  sang  a  new  song,  saying,  Thou  art 
worthy!  .  .  .  Worthy  is  the  Lamb!'  And  just  be- 
cause He  was  worthy,  it  followed,  as  the  night  the 
day,  that  He  was  able. 

We  have  traced  this  truth  from  the  cliffs  of  Dover 
right  up  to  the  dizziest  pinnacle  to  which  human 
eyes  can  peer.  From  the  great  white  stone  to  the 
Great  White  Throne  this  thing  holds  grandly  true. 
Whiteness  and  strength;  innocence  and  omnip- 
otence; right  and  might, — they  go  side  by  side,  and 
hand  in  hand,  both  in  the  heavens  above  and  on  the 
earth  beneath.  That  was  what  Mrs.  Barclay's 
heroine  saw  in  symbol  as  she  gazed  upon  the  white 
walls  of  old  England.  And  the  seer  who,  from  the 
isle  that  is  called  Patmos,  beheld  the  gleaming 
towers  and  shining  turrets  of  the  Celestial  City, 
saw  nothing  greater. 


THE  organist  is  an  ecclesiastical  vagabond.  He  is 
a  nomad  and  a  nondescript.  He  lives  in  a  kind  of 
No-man's  land.  In  the  rationale  of  our  spiritual 
economy  he  has  never  been  provided  with  a  home. 
We  have  never  taken  the  trouble  to  place  him.  We 
have  ministers,  and  we  know  why  we  have  them. 
Deacons  and  teachers  and  choirs  we  have,  and  their 
contribution  to  our  worship  is  well  defined  and 
clearly  understood.  But  we  allow  the  organist,  as 
organist,  to  hover  spectrally  on  the  frontiers  of  our 
religious  domain.  We  have  never  made  up  our 
minds  as  to  whether  he  is  simply  a  cog-wheel  in 
the  cold  mechanism  of  our  church  organization  or 
one  of  the  controlling  forces  of  the  inner  life  of  the 
sanctuary.  Is  he,  in  a  word,  one  of  those  reviving, 
quickening,  spiritual  factors  that  are  an  essential 
part  of  our  worship  and  testimony,  or  is  he  merely 
a  necessary  appendage,  a  convenient  adjunct, 
an  entertaining  auxiliary?  Is  he  a  member  of  the 
family,  or  merely  a  distant  relative,  or,  perchance, 
a  nodding  acquaintance?  We  offer  him  a  chair — 


The  Organist  135 

or  at  any  rate  a  stool — on  Sundays  and  at  choir 
practices;  then  he  folds  his  tent,  like  the  Arab,  and 
silently  steals  away.  We  scarcely  know  where  to 
place  him.  Is  he  inside  or  outside?  Is  he  a  partner 
or  a  passenger?  In  fairness  to  him,  and  in  justice 
to  ourselves,  we  ought  to  face  the  problem.  We 
must  classify  and  locate  him.  Too  long  the 
Church  has  said  to  the  organist,  'The  minister  we 
know,  and  the  choir  we  know,  but  who  are  you !' 

Now,  there  are  very  few  subjects  that  have  be- 
trayed their  exponents  into  more  obvious  confusion 
of  thought  than  the  attempt  to  define  the  exact 
relationship  existing  between  minstrelsy  and  minis- 
try. The  case  for  the  organist  has  never  yet  been 
satisfactorily  stated,  either  from  the  purely  musical 
or  from  the  purely  ecclesiastical  view-point.  Here, 
for  example,  Charles  Santley,  in  his  Reminiscences, 
tells  us  that  his  master,  Nava,  at  the  Conservatoire 
at  Milan,  used  to  insist  'that  the  object  of  music 
was  to  give  greater  expression  and  emphasis  to  the 
words/  Which,  of  course,  is  unadulterated  non- 
sense. It  is  true  enough  of  certain  forms  of  vocal 
music,  but  the  sweeping  and  merciless  dictum  ruth- 
lessly excommunicates  the  blackbird  and  the  thrush, 
the  nightingale  and  the  canary,  and  at  the  same  time 
cuts  the  throat  of  our  unhappy  organist.  If  we 
subscribe  to  the  daring  proposition  we  condemn  the 

136  The  Luggage  of  Life 

'Dead  March'  and  the  'Wedding  March'  as  inanities, 
and  all  our  organist's  wordless  voluntaries  become 
impertinences  of  the  worst  kind.  It  is  clear,  there- 
fore, that,  whilst  our  Milanese  master  is  indisput- 
ably right  in  insisting  on  the  clear  enunciation  of 
every  syllable,  when  there  are  syllables  to  enunciate, 
he  has  not  spoken  the  whole  truth.  He  has  failed 
to  supply  us  with  a  practical  theory  that  will  include 
both  the  goldfinch  and  the  organist,  the  two  great 
wordless  minstrels  in  the  temples  of  Nature  and 

Now,  if  our  theologians  had  read  their  Bibles  as 
carefully  as  our  organists  have  read  their  music, 
they  would  most  certainly  have  discovered  that  the 
Scriptures  have  some  very  fine  things  to  say  about 
the  organist.  Here,  for  instance,  is  quite  a  cluster 
of  great  Old  Testament  stories  which  should  have 
helped  us  to  solve  our  problem  long  ago.  Look  at 
this  one :  Jehoram,  the  wicked  King  of  Israel,  and 
Jehoshaphat,  the  good  King  of  Judea,  have  for  a 
while  joined  forces  that  they  might  fight  side  by 
side  against  the  Moabites.  But  in  the  course  of  the 
campaign  their  united  armies  fall  into  sore  straits, 
and  Jehoshaphat  longs  to  hear  some  guiding  voice. 
In  his  perplexity  he  hungers  for  fellowship  with 
the  skies.  His  soul  ached  to  speak  with  God.  'Is 
there  not  a  prophet  ?'  he  inquired.  Elisha  is  found, 

The  Organist  137 

and  three  kings  stand  before  him,  and  beg  him  to 
prophesy.  But  the  lips  of  the  seers  are  sealed;  he 
has  no  message ;  he  is  dumb.  Then  he  cried :  'Bring 
me  a  minstrel!  And  it  came  to  pass,  when  the 
minstrel  played,  that  the  hand  of  the  Lord  came 
upon  Elisha,  and  he  prophesied' !  Now,  here  is  a 
clear-cut  case  in  which  the  organist  was  simply  in- 
dispensable to  the  minister.  The  prophet  could  not 
prophesy  without  the  minstrel.  The  player  was  the 
preacher's  inspiration — a  minister  to  the  minister. 
The  music  of  the  minstrel  directly  contributed  to  a 
magnificent  spiritual  result.  'When  the  minstrel 
played,  the  hand  of  the  Lord  came  upon  Elisha,  and 
he  prophesied.* 

Two  other  instances  of  a  similar  kind  will  leap 
to  the  memory  of  every  reader:  (i)  When  Saul 
heard  the  music  of  the  psaltery  and  the  tabret  and 
the  pipe  and  the  harp,  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  came 
upon  him,  and  he  prophesied,  and  was  turned  into 
another  man;  (2)  When  David  took  his  harp  and 
played  before  Saul  'the  evil  spirit  departed  from 
him/  The  point  is  that  in  each  case  we  recognize  the 
organist.  It  is  instrumental  music,  pure  and  simple. 
There  is  no  question  of  words,  whether  clearly  or  in- 
distinctly enunciated.  And  in  each  case  the  language 
admits  of  no  second  interpretation;  an  emphatically 
spiritual  effect  was  produced.  We  must  be  honest, 

138  The  Luggage  of  Life 

even  though  we  be  theologians;  we  must  be  fair, 
even  towards  an  organist.  None  of  the  facts  must 
be  blinked. 

Now,  we  venture  to  think  that  a  working  hypoth- 
esis can  be  built  upon  these  facts.  Two  irresistible 
conclusions  emerge.  The  first  is  that  the  organist 
is  clearly  part  and  parcel  of  our  spiritual  economy. 
Indeed,  these  three  graceful  old  stories,  if  they 
mean  anything,  seem  to  show  that  we  need  our 
friend  the  organist  in  every  department  of  our  reli- 
gious enterprise.  For,  in  the  first  two  cases,  it  was 
through  his  agency  that  the  Divine  Spirit  was  re- 
ceived ;  and  in  the  third  case  it  was  by  means  of  his 
melodious  ministry  that  the  evil  spirit  was  expelled. 
These  are  the  two  great  essential  functions  of  the 
Church  in  every  age — to  invoke  a  fresh  inrush  of 
spiritual  enlightenment  and  reviving  fervour,  and 
to  exorcise  and  expel  all  that  is  unrighteous,  unholy, 
and  unclean.  And  if,  as  these  stories  plainly  show, 
the  organist  can  help  the  Church  to  fulfil  these  two 
magnificent  missions  and  to  realize  this  sublime 
spiritual  ideal,  then  let  all  pastors  and  deacons  and 
teachers  and  singers  stand  up  and  say,  God  bless  the 

But,  lest  our  friend  of  the  music-stool  should 
become  exalted  above  measure  by  the  brilliance,  as 
of  the  seventh  heaven,  of  this  Old  Testament  revela- 

The  Organist  139 

tion,  we  hasten  to  emphasize  the  second  principle 
that  clearly  emerges  from  its  beatific  splendours. 
It  is  manifest  that  the  music  of  the  minstrel  is  not 
an  end  in  itself.  Just  as  the  work  of  the  minister 
is  not  in  itself  spiritually  effective,  but  is  the  channel 
through  which  the  excellency  of  the  divine  power 
may  communicate  itself,  so  the  harmonies  of  the 
organ  are  but  a  means  of  grace.  The  language  is 
wonderfully  exact  and  explicit:  'When  the  min- 
strel played,  the  hand  of  the  Lord  came  upon 
Elisha/  and  it  was  the  hand  of  the  Lord  that 
wrought  the  resultant  miracle.  We  hazard  the  sug- 
gestion that  if  our  pastors  and  officers  and  mem- 
bers would  spend  half  an  hour  in  the  careful  con- 
templation of  these  exquisite  old  records,  their  eyes 
would  be  so  illumined  that  they  would  detect  an 
aureole  encircling  the  brows  of  the  organist.  And 
if  our  minstrels  would  pore  over  these  fragrant 
pages  for  a  while  they  would  feel  the  thrill  of  a 
new  ecstasy  in  their  avocation,  and  glorify  their 
talents  with  a  fresh  consecration.  An  added  sweet- 
ness and  dignity  would  lurk  in  those  lovely  notes 
that  come  trilling  and  shuddering  down  from  the 
organ.  And  the  gracious  ministries  of  our  min- 
strelsy would  anticipate  that  home  of  the  eternal 
harmonies  in  the  heart  and  centre  of  whose  melodies 
the  Lord  himself  delightedly  abides. 


A  MINISTERIAL  friend  of  mine  was  recently  travel- 
ling in  the  far  east  of  Australia.  On  his  return 
he  penned  a  most  picturesque  account  of  the  wilds 
and  wonders  of  the  Queensland  bush.  And,  in  the 
process  of  his  cinematographic  description  of 
a  glorious  motor-ride,  he  includes  this  realistic  and 
characteristic  touch:  'In  the  heart  of  the  bush/  he 
says,  'we  came  upon  a  tragedy  that  must  often  be 
enacted  amongst  the  animal  dwellers  of  the  great 
solitude — a  kangaroo,  a  mother,  unable  to  resist  the 
pangs  and  pains  thrust  upon  her  by  her  destiny,  lay 
dead  upon  the  roadside,  and  above,  on  a  branch  of  a 
tree,  stood  a  pair  of  laughing-jackasses,  guffawing 
their  loudest,  as  if  life  knew  no  tragedy  and  no 

Here,  then,  is  a  painting,  skilfully  finished,  before 
which  we  may  profitably  pause.  And  the  charm 
of  it — as  of  all  great  pictures — is  that  it  is  so  true 
to  life.  The  laughing- jackass  and  the  dead  kan- 
garoo !  I  always  keep  up  one  of  my  sleeves  a  micro- 


The  Jackass  and  the  Kangaroo          141 

scopic — a  very  microscopic — naturalist,  and  an 
equally  microscopic  philosopher  up  the  other.  I  un- 
rolled my  friend's  picture  to  my  naturalist.  'Ah, 
yes/  he  said,  'there  you  have  the  jackass  all  over; 
that's  the  way  of  the  bird!'  I  turned  to  my  other 
sleeve,  and  showed  the  picture  to  the  philosopher. 
'Ah,  yes,'  he  said,  'there  you  have  life  in  miniature; 
that's  the  way  of  the  world !' 

'The  way  of  the  bird'  and  'the  way  of  the  world/ 
What  do  these  gentlemen  mean?  Let  us  probe  a 
little.  Now,  the  jackass  has  a  literature  of  his  own. 
I  suppose  the  most  captivating  and  convincing 
description  of  our  bush  comedian  that  has  ever  been 
penned  is  the  classical  sketch  by  Frank  Buckland. 
That  most  genial  and  most  winsome  of  all  British 
naturalists  simply  revelled  in  his  study  of  the  jack- 
ass. And  he  was  particularly  amused  by  the  very 
trait  that  arrested  my  friend  on  his  tour.  He  pil- 
lories him  thus :  'The  bird  has  a  custom  of  laughing 
in  a  most  exasperating  fashion/  he  says,  'when  a 
misfortune  happens  to  travellers.  Thus,  when  a 
wagon  loaded  with  goods  breaks  down  in  some  deso- 
late region  on  a  long  march,  and  the  owner  is  at  his 
wits'  end  to  get  it  right  again,  a  laughing-jackass 
is  sure  to  appear  at  the  top  of  a  neighbouring  tree 
and  laugh  in  the  most  aggravating  manner  at  the 
miserable  condition  of  the  traveller,  till  the  woods 

142  The  Luggage  of  Life 

resound  with  his  merry  "Ha,  ha,  ha!  He,  he,  he! 
Ho,  ho,  ho !"  This  is  very  interesting.  We  are 
grateful  to  Mr.  Buckland  and  to  my  friend  for 
drawing  our  attention  to  so  curious  a  phenomenon. 
But  this  chapter  is  not  to  be  understood  as  a  fugitive 
excursion  into  natural  history.  I  am  attracted  to 
the  theme  by  quite  other  considerations.  For  it  is 
surely  as  clear  as  noonday  that  the  incident  is  true 
to  life  in  the  deepest  sense.  We  are  for  ever  and 
ever  discovering,  with  a  shock  of  surprise,  that  the 
laughing-jackass  is  never  far  away  from  the  dead 
kangaroo.  At  every  turn  of  our  pilgrimage  we  see 
comedy  stand  grinning  cheek  by  jowl  with  tragedy. 
The  world  is  made  up  of  the  most  discordant  and 
incongruous  juxtapositions. 

Among  the  treasures  in  the  Sydney  Art  Gallery 
is  Sir  Luke  Fildes'  famous  painting  entitled  'The 
Widower.'  On  the  right-hand  side  of  the  picture 
sits  the  poor  toiler,  with  his  sick  child  on  his  knee. 
One  overwhelming  bereavement  has  already  over- 
taken him,  and  another  stares  him  in  the  face.  His 
brow  is  clouded  with  uttermost  sorrow  and  per- 
plexity. He  looks  at  his  child  and  seems  to  say,  'If 
only  she  were  here !'  And  on  the  left-hand  side  of 
the  picture  are  the  younger  children  playing  on  the 
floor,  laughing  and  crowing  in  their  merriment. 
They  are  not  old  enough  to  understand;  but  their 

The  Jackass  and  the  Kangaroo          143 

delight  seems  cruelly  to  mock  his  despair.  Have 
we  not  here  the  story  of  the  laughing- jackass  and 
the  dead  kangaroo  over  again?  The  thing  occurs 
hourly.  As  the  mourners  return  broken-hearted 
from  the  graveside  they  are  tortured  by  the  mad 
melody  of  wedding-bells  from  a  neighbouring 
belfry.  Edward  FitzGerald  somewhere  says  that 
there  are  no  lines  in  our  literature  so  pathetically 
expressive  of  the  soul's  deepest  emotions  as  the 
familiar  song  of  Robert  Burns : 

Ye  banks  and  braes  o'  bonnie  Doon, 
How  can  ye  bloom  so  fresh  and  fair? 

Ye  little  birds,  how  can  ye  sing, 
And  I  so  weary,  full  of  care? 

Who  is  there  that,  passing  through  some  deep 
valley  of  weeping,  has  not  been  stabbed  to  the  quick 
by  the  laughter  on  the  hills?  I  shall  never  forget 
the  day  on  which  I  left  the  Homeland.  I  was  about 
to  set  sail  for  lands  in  which  I  should  be  the  veriest 
stranger.  I  passed,  on  my  way  to  the  ship,  through 
the  crowded  London  streets,  every  one  of  which  was 
endeared  to  me  by  old  associations  and  enriched  by 
fond  memories.  "I  was  accompanied  by  those  who 
were  all  the  world  to  me,  those  who,  like  myself, 
were  calling  up  all  the  reserve  powers  of  the  will 
to  nerve  them  for  the  wrench  of  parting.  And  I 

144  The  Luggage  of  Life 

remember  how  I  was  mocked  by  the  sounds  of  the 
city  streets.  My  soul  was  in  tears ;  but  who  cared  ? 
People  were  chattering ;  crowds  were  jostling;  news- 
boys were  shouting ;  all  London  was  sunlit  and  gay. 
It  seemed  as  though  the  old  haunts  were  glad  to 
see  me  go.  The  laughter  tore  and  lacerated  my 
spirit.  The  jackass  seems  a  hideous  incongruity  in 
the  presence  of  the  dead  kangaroo. 

The  parable  has  an  obvious  application  to  public 
affairs.  There  are  enough  dead  kangaroos  lying 
about  the  world,  in  all  conscience!  Our  tragedies 
are  tremendous.  At  the  moment  of  writing  Italy 
and  Turkey  are  at  war.  France  and  Germany  are 
scowling  angrily  at  each  other  across  their  frontiers. 
China  is  convulsed  in  the  throes  of  a  huge  revolu- 
tion. Spain  and  Portugal  are  in  a  state  of  seething 
tumult  and  disorder.  At  our  own  doors  the  social 
conditions  are  full  of  disquiet  and  unrest.  Strikes 
and  lock-outs  are  the  order  of  the  day.  We  are  not 
alarmists;  we  see  in  all  this  no  cause  for  panic. 
The  pessimist  is  completely  out  of  court.  But,  on 
the  other  hand,  we  do  submit  that  these  things  call 
for  a  certain  public  seriousness  and  gravity.  The 
newspapers  should  cause  every  decent  citizen  furi- 
ously to  think.  Yet  we  see  small  evidence  of  seri- 
ous thought ;  quite  otherwise.  The  pursuit  of  pleas- 
ure— and  not  always  of  the  noblest  pleasure — was 

The  Jackass  and  the  Kangaroo          145 

never  so  deliriously  feverish.  The  woods  seem  to 
resound  with  the  untimely  giggle  of  the  laughing- 
jackass;  and,  with  so  many  tragedies  about  us,  the 
notes  grate  harshly  on  our  ears.  We  venture  a 
pertinent  application.  If  things  have  become  so 
serious  that  Australia  needs  to  build  battleships  and 
compel  all  her  sons  to  bear  arms,  then  things  have 
become  far  too  serious  for  pugilistic  orgies  and 
similar  carnivals  of  inanity.  There  is  no  doubt 
about  it.  The  laughing- jackass  is  quite  out  of  place 
beside  the  dead  kangaroo. 

We  pause  reverently  for  a  moment  before  daring 
to  suggest  a  still  deeper  consideration  in  closing. 
Perhaps,  perhaps  this  is  why  our  Gospels  present  to 
us  the  sad  and  stricken  face  of  a  Man  of  Sorrows. 
The  smitten  soul,  turning  aside  like  a  wounded  deer 
from  the  herd,  simply  could  not  endure  a  gay  or 
mirthful  Saviour.  I  know  a  lady  who  dismissed  her 
doctor  because  she  could  not  bear  the  levities  with 
which  he  thought  to  brighten  her.  Her  nerves 
winced  and  squirmed  beneath  his  jokes  and  chatter. 
It  is  a  curious  fact  that  there  are  more  suicides  in 
summer  than  in  winter,  and  more  in  genial  and 
sunny  climes  than  in  sterner  temperatures.  The  rea- 
son is  obvious.  The  brightness  and  gaiety  of  the 
world  mock  the  bruised  and  battered  spirit  and  drive 
it  to  despair.  A  tearless  Saviour  would  have  re- 

146  The  Luggage  of  Life 

pelled  the  very  souls  that  Jesus  came  to  save ;  but 
One  over  whose  crushed  spirit  all  the  waves  of  grief 
have  surged  must  be  the  natural  refuge  of  all  peni- 
tent and  contrite  hearts  so  long  as  time  shall  last. 
It  is  this  harmony  of  the  emotions,  this  subtle  and 
unfathomable  wealth  of  infinite  sympathy,  that  has 
led  millions  to  sing  with  choked  and  trembling 
voices : 

Rock  of  Ages,  cleft  for  me, 

Let  me  hide  myself  in  Thee; 

Let  the  water  and  the  blood, 

From  Thy  riven  side  which  flowed, 

Be  of  sin  the  double  cure, 

Save  me  from  its  guilt  and  power. 

There  is  a  world  of  tender  significance  in  the  in- 
congruous tragedy  which  the  motor-car  passed  by 
the  side  of  the  track. 


THE  great  bush  solitudes  had  taken  the  place  of  the 
bustling  streets.  He — an  Australian  minister  on 
holiday — rested  on  a  fallen  tree  beside  the  dusty 
track.  He  raised  his  hat  to  the  loveliness  and  bathed 
his  brow  in  the  loneliness  that  pervaded  everything. 
It  was  with  him  as  when  a  great  steamer  stops  in 
mid-ocean  to  allow  her  engines  to  cool.  The  thud 
of  the  propeller,  the  vibration  of  the  machinery,  are 
felt  no  longer;  the  stillness  is  uncanny.  He  drew 
from  his  breast-pocket  his  Bible,  and,  his  mind 
recurring  to  his  own  attempts  to  build  the  city  of 
God  among  the  haunts  of  men,  he  turned  to  the 
stately  old  story  of  Nehemiah.  He  read  on,  un- 
disturbed by  the  drowsy  hum  of  insects  and  the 
merrier  songs  of  birds,  until  arrested  by  Sanballat's 
question:  'What  do  these  feeble  Jews?  Will  they 
revive  the  stones  out  of  the  heaps  of  the  rubbish 
which  are  burned  ?'  It  was  an  awakening  phrase — 
a  revival  from  a  rubbish-heap!  He  laid  the  open 

148  The  Luggage  of  Life 

Bible  on  the  mossy  log  beside  him  and  lost  himself 
in  contemplation. 

And,  even  as  he  pondered,  a  new  object  presented 
itself  to  his  hungry  mind.  From  the  depths  of  the 
bush  on  the  distant  hill-side  great  wreathing 
columns  of  smoke  curled  skywards,  occasionally 
shot  through  by  fierce  flashes  of  flame.  Straining 
his  ears  to  listen,  he  caught  the  crash  of  falling 
trees,  and  thought  he  could  detect  the  crackle  and 
roar  of  the  fires  as  the  monsters  yielded  themselves 
to  the  devouring  element.  Straining  his  eyes  to  see, 
he  dimly  discerned  the  figures  of  men  moving  here 
and  there,  superintending  the  work  of  demolition 
and  destruction.  They  were  clearing  away  the 
maple  and  the  myrtle,  the  wattle  and  the  gum,  to 
make  room  for  the  apple  and  the  apricot,  the  peach- 
tree  and  the  pear.  And  the  preacher,  as  he  watched, 
caught  himself  echoing  Sanballat's  question:  'Will 
they  bring  a  revival  out  of  a  rubbish-heap?  Will 
they  obtain  riches  from  refuse?'  These  were  com- 
panion pictures — this  picture  in  the  Bible  and  this 
picture  in  the  bush;  and,  as  he  gazed  upon  them 
side  by  side,  several  clear-cut  thoughts  emerged. 
He  saw  that  rubbish-heaps  fill  a  large  place  in  the 
domestic  economy  of  a  world  like  this.  And  he 
saw  that  an  element  of  such  enormous  magnitude 
must  be  governed  by  laws.  Refuse  must  have  its 

Our  Rubbish-Heaps  149 

fixed  rules.  The  slag-heap  must  have  its  statutes. 
They  have ! 

There  is  the  law  of  deterioration.  From  the 
picture  in  the  Bible  and  the  picture  in  the  bush  it 
becomes  clear  that  all  material  things,  though  as 
sacred  as  the  Temple  or  as  natural  as  the  forest 
flowers,  are  on  their  way  to  the  rubbish-heap.  It 
sounds  like  a  death-knell  to  the  materialist.  Materi- 
alism, unmasked,  appears  as  the  religion  of  the 
rubbish-heap.  It  is  heavy  tidings,  too,  for  the 
ritualist;  for  Ritualism  stands  in  perilous  relation- 
ship to  the  rubbish-heap.  'Now  abideth' — what? 
Altars?  vestments?  crosses?  creeds?  catechisms? 
confessions  ?  'Now  abideth  faith,  hope,  love — these 
three;  and  the  greatest  of  these  is  love.'  The  moth 
is  in  our  fairest  fabrics,  and  our  holiest  temples 
totter  to  their  fall.  'And  as  some  spake  of  the 
Temple,  how  it  was  adorned  with  goodly  stones 
and  gifts,  Jesus  said :  As  for  these  things  which  ye 
behold,  the  days  will  come  in  the  which  there  shall 
not  be  left  one  stone  upon  another  that  shall  not 
be  cast  down.'  That  is  significant.  It  is  well  to  set 
our  affections  on  the  things  for  which  the  rubbish- 
heap  can  have  no  terrors. 

There  is  the  law  of  occupation.  For  Nehemiah, 
in  the  one  picture,  and  the  settler  in  the  other,  find 
the  ground  not  fallow,  but  occupied.  Moss  and 

150  The  Luggage  of  Life 

lichen  cover  every  stone.  Giant  trees,  twining 
creepers,  shapely  ferns,  and  waving  grasses  fight  for 
every  inch  of  soil.  Rank  weeds  and  spear-like 
leaves  peer  out  from  all  the  interstices.  Every 
crack  and  cranny,  every  corner  and  crevice,  is  oc- 
cupied. Nature  abhors  a  vacuum.  Wherever  the 
foot  of  man  has  failed  to  tread,  wherever  the  hand 
of  man  has  failed  to  labour,  God's  innumerable 
and  invisible  agriculturists  plough  and  harrow,  sow 
and  reap,  and  produce  the  bewildering  beauties  of 
the  bush.  Hannibal's  military  precept  of  preoccupa- 
tion dominates  the  rubbish-heap.  The  moss  and  the 
lichen  are  on  the  stones  of  Jerusalem  because  no 
Nehemiah  has  come  to  build  the  city.  The  wattle 
and  the  gum  abound  on  the  hill-side  simply  because 
no  man  has  planted  apricots  or  pears.  Is  it  not  ever 
so  ?  The  mind  becomes  a  wilderness  of  foul  imagi- 
nations because  clean  and  wholesome  thoughts  have 
not  been  planted  there.  The  heart  becomes,  like 
Jerusalem,  a  wilderness  and  a  desolation  because  the 
kingdom  of  Christ  has  never  been  established  there. 
Evil  evolves  where  good  evacuates. 

There  is  the  law  of  elevation.  The  question  is: 
What  makes  rubbish  rubbish?  The  term  is  obvi- 
ously not  absolute,  but  relative.  A  lady's  hat  is  a 
milliner's  dream  to-day.  To-morrow — a  new  style 
having  come  in — it  is  its  mistress's  despair.  What 

Our  Rubbish-Heaps  151 

has  so  suddenly  changed  delight  to  disgust,  and 
made  the  fashion  of  yesterday  the  folly  of  to-day? 
It  is  the  new  style.  And  it  is  always  the  new  style, 
whether  of  dresses  or  of  dreadnoughts,  that  flings 
the  satisfaction  of  one  day  to  the  slag-heap  of  the 
next.  What  has  made  the  maple  and  the  laurel 
look  like  rubbish  to  the  settler?  The  parrots  and 
the  kangaroos  see  no  change  to  account  for  his 
vandalism.  The  aboriginals  did  not  find  it  necessary 
to  hack  down  trees  and  fire  the  undergrowth.  Why, 
then,  this  fury  of  axe  and  torch  and  gunpowder? 
It  is  the  conception  of  an  orchard  that  has  done  it. 
That  is  the  'new  style.'  A  man  dreams  of  apples, 
and  he  burns  the  virgin  bush.  Then,  in  his  orchard 
he  sees  the  glint  of  gold !  The  soil  is  auriferous ! 
The  fruit-trees  become  firewood  that  he  may  seize 
the  precious  metal.  Later  on,  in  peril  of  a  watery 
grave,  he  flings  his  very  gold  into  the  ocean  that 
he  may  save  his  life.  Bush,  fruit,  gold,  each  in  their 
turn  become  rubbish,  flung  to  the  slag-heap  by  the 
alluring  force  of  a  higher  attraction.  Nor  is  life 
itself  the  last  stage.  The  martyrs  cheerfully  threw 
even  life  away,  fascinated  by  still  greater  wealth. 
Had  not  Paul  his  rubbish-heap?  He  counted  all 
things  but  loss  for  the  excellency  of  the  knowledge 
of  Christ  Jesus  his  Lord,  for  whom  he  had  suffered 
the  loss  of  all  things,  and  did  count  them  but  dung, 

1 52  The  Luggage  of  Life 

that  he  might  win  Christ.  The  rubbish-heap  can 
have  no  grander  word  written  of  it  than  that. 

There  is  the  law  of  transformation.  God  makes 
His  loveliest  roses  out  of  rubbish.  The  charred 
ashes  of  yesterday's  bush  nourish  the  roots  of  to- 
morrow's orchard.  If  the  refuse  of  the  ages  had 
been  allowed  to  accumulate,  the  world  would  be  un- 
inhabitable. The  air  would  be  heavy  with  pesti- 
lence. We  bury  our  rubbish,  and  it  all  comes  back 
to  us  in  fruits  and  flowers.  Its  resurrection  body 
is  divine. 

It  is  just  here  that  the  Church  finds  her  most  acute 
problem.  In  every  community  there  are  crowds  of 
people  who  have  gone  to  the  wall.  They  feel 
crushed  and  beaten.  Under  our  fierce  competitive 
system  the  iron  law  of  the  survival  of  the  fittest 
has  flung  them  on  the  social  slag-heap,  and  they 
know  it.  They  hate  the  churches,  because  the 
churches  are  old,  and  they  think  that  if  the  churches 
had  done  their  duty,  things  would  not  be  as  they 
are.  They  forget  that,  if  the  churches  had  not  done 
their  duty,  things  would  be  ten  thousand  times 
worse  than  they  are.  They  snatch  at  every  social 
quackery  and  political  panacea.  Now,  the  Church's 
mission  is  to  do  for  this  ruined  mass  what  Nehemiah 
did  for  the  rubbish-heaps  of  Jerusalem — to  build 
out  of  them  the  city  of  God.  'Will  they  bring  a 

Our  Rubbish-Heaps  153 

revival  out  of  a  rubbish-heap?'  asks  Sanballat.  Of 
course.  A  rubbish-heap  is  God's  raw  material.  A 
revival  is  His  finished  product.  Let  the  Church 
get  to  work.  She  alone  is  equipped  for  so  divine 
a  duty.  If  she  fail,  her  collapse  will  be  the  disaster 
of  the  ages.  In  that  melancholy  event,  this  social 
rubbish-heap  will  become,  like  all  untrans formed 
rubbish-heaps,  the  menace  of  mankind  and  the  peril 
of  the  world.  In  it  all  pestilential  fever-germs  will 
breed  and  multiply.  Anarchisms  and  revolutions 
will  fill  the  air  with  shrieks  and  screams.  But  the 
Church  of  Jesus  Christ  knows  how  to  transform 
this  mass  of  refuse  into  a  field  of  roses.  Paul 
understood  the  magic  secret.  He  looked  upon  the 
unbridled  lust,  the  grinding  tyranny,  and  the  hide- 
ous idolatry  of  the  city  of  the  Caesars,  and  was  un- 
abashed. And  he  gave  his  reason.  The  gospel,  he 
said,  is  the  power  of  God  unto  transformation.  He 
saw  that  the  foulest  filth  of  Rome  might  become  the 
fairest  fragrance  of  the  New  Jerusalem. 



TM  always  a-moving  on,  sir,'  cried  poor  Jo,  wiping 
away  his  grimy  tears  with  his  arm.  'I've  always 
been  a-moving  on  and  a-moving  on  ever  since  I  was 
born.  Where  can  I  possibly  move  to,  sir,  more  nor 
I  do  move?' 

'My  instructions  don't  go  to  that/  said  the  con- 
stable. 'My  instructions  are  that  you  are  to  move 
on.  I've  told  you  so  five  hundred  times.' 

'Well,  but  really,  constable,  you  know/  observed 
Mr.  Snagsby  (to  whom  poor  Jo's  appeal  had  been 
addressed),  'really  that  does  seem  a  question. 
Where,  you  know?' 

So  far  Charles  Dickens  and  Bleak  House.  Mr. 
Snagsby  and  poor  Jo  were  indisputably  right.  It  is 
the  easiest  thing  in  the  world  to  keep  moving  on. 
*But  where,  you  know  ?'  For  it  is  the  hardest  thing 
in  the  world  so  to  direct  our  movements  that  each 
change  shall  represent  a  real  advance,  and  constitute 
itself  a  distinct  contribution  towards  the  attainment 
of  an  ultimate  goal.  By  a  sure  instinct  we  ask  each 


Life's  Invisible  Constabulary  155 

other  on  the  street,  not  'Are  you  getting  on?'  be- 
cause that  matters  little,  but  'How  are  you  getting 
on?'  because  that  matters  everything.  'Really/  as 
Mr.  Snagsby  said,  'that  does  seem  a  question — 
where,  you  know  ?' 

Now,  movement  is  the  law  of  life.  The  police- 
man told  Jo  that  he  must  move  or  be  locked  up. 
But  the  greater  constabulary  of  the  solar  system 
are  very  much  more  severe.  They  tell  us  that  we 
must  move  or  be  put  to  death. 

Drummond's  savage  is  a  case  in  point.  Says  the 
amiable  Professor:  'When  we  meet  him  first  he  is 
sitting,  we  shall  suppose,  in  the  sun.  Let  us  also 
suppose — and  it  requires  no  imagination  to  suppose 
it — that  he  has  no  wish  to  do  anything  else  than 
sit  in  the  sun,  and  that  he  is  perfectly  contented  and 
perfectly  happy.  Nature  around  him,  visible  and 
invisible,  is  as  still  as  he  is,  as  inert  apparently,  as 
unconcerned.  Neither  molests  the  other ;  they  have 
no  connexion  with  each  other.  Yet  it  is  not  so. 
That  savage  is  the  victim  of  a  conspiracy.  Nature 
has  designs  upon  him.  She  wants  to  move  him. 
How  does  she  set  about  moving  him?  By  moving 
herself.'  The  sun  goes  down;  he  must  move  on  or 
freeze.  The  time  rolls  on ;  he  must  move  or  starve. 
The  roar  of  the  wild  beast  is  heard;  he  must  move 
or  be  eaten.  He  moves! 

156  The  Luggage  of  Life 

It  could  easily  be  shown  that  these  invisible 
constables  have  other  and  even  surer  methods  of 
moving  us  on.  They  give  us  work  to  do,  and  wreck 
it  for  us  so  soon  as  we  have  done  it,  in  order  to 
make  us  do  it  all  again.  We  build  a  house.  Be- 
fore the  workmen  have  removed  the  scaffolding  mil- 
lions upon  millions  of  invisible  hands  have  set  to 
work  to  reduce  the  building  to  ruins.  It  is  only  a 
question  of  time,  and  they  will  have  left  it,  like 
Solomon's  Temple,  with  not  one  stone  upon  another. 
They  are  terribly  afraid — those  unseen  constables — 
that  we  shall  loiter  and  stand  still.  They  tear  our 
work  to  pieces,  and  demolish  the  very  homes  in 
•which  we  live,  for  the  sheer  sake  of  compelling  us 
to  renew  our  toils.  They  overthrow  Nineveh  and 
Tyre  and  Athens  and  Jerusalem  and  Rome  that  we 
may  build  London  and  Paris  and  Buenos  Ayres  and 
Chicago  and  Melbourne.  And  they  are  tearing 
down  these  that  we  may  build  the  New  Jerusalem. 
They  are  always  moving  us  on.  We  plough  a  field. 
We  must  harrow  and  sow  it  at  once,  or  they  will 
trample  it  down  with  their  microscopic  feet  until  it 
needs  reploughing.  We  gaze  upon  our  golden  crop. 
We  must  reap  it  immediately  or  they  will  drench 
and  destroy  it  before  our  very  eyes.  We  garner 
our  harvest.  We  must  plough  the  field  again,  or 
they  will  sow  such  a  crop  of  thorns  and  of  thistles 

Life's  Invisible  Constabulary  157 

as  will  make  our  backs  ache  even  to  look  upon  them. 
No  street-corner  constable  was  ever  so  imperative, 
so  merciless,  so  tyrannical  as  are  these.  'My  in- 
structions/ said  the  policeman  to  poor  Jo,  'are  that 
you  are  to  move  on.  I  have  told  you  so  five  hun- 
dred times.'  That  is  nothing1.  These  other  con- 
stables have  told  us  so  five  million  times.  They  say 
it  from  morning  till  night.  They  say  it  from  baby- 
hood to  old  age.  They  said  it  when  the  first  day 
dawned,  and  they  will  be  saying  it  when  the  last 
sun  sets.  It  is  'Move  on!'  for  ever  and  ever  and 
ever.  And,  to  be  doubly  certain  that  we  do  move, 
they  move  us!  Whether  we  like  it  or  not,  whether 
we  sleep  or  wake,  they  hurl  us  through  space  at  the 
dizzy  rate  of  thousands  of  miles  an  hour  to  greet  the 
sunrise ;  and  in  another  direction  they  push  us  along 
at  the  terrific  speed  of  sixty  thousand  miles  an  hour 
towards  the  summer-time.  We  are  whirling  and 
spinning  and  rushing  and  flying  from  midnight  till 
noonday  and  noonday  till  midnight.  These  fearful 
forces  appal  us  with  their  everlasting  cry  of  'Move 
on !'  Poor  Jo's  sad  plight  was  a  mere  circumstance 
when  compared  with  our  own.  And  there  is  no 
Mr.  Snagsby  to  intercede  with  our  constables ! 

The  science  of  life  hinges  upon  turning  mere 
movement  into  progress.  Huxley  once  found  him- 
self being  driven  in  a  hansom  cab  at  a  breakneck 

158  The  Luggage  of  Life 

speed  round  and  round  a  certain  network  of  London 
streets.  He  had  told  the  hackman  to  'drive  fast,' 
but  had  not  instructed  him  as  to  his  destination !  It 
does  not  by  any  means  follow  that  movement,  even 
the  most  rapid  movement,  is  necessarily  progress. 
In  the  Origin  of  Species  Darwin  has  a  good  deal  to 
say  about  'certain  larvae  that  actually  stand  higher 
in  the  scale  of  organization  than  the  mature  animal 
into  which  they  are  afterwards  developed.'  Have 
we  not  witnessed  the  same  phenomenon  ?  There  is, 
for  example,  all  the  difference  imaginable  between 
the  Mayflower,  as  she  crossed  the  Atlantic  nearly 
three  centuries  ago,  and  the  Mauretania,  the  pride 
of  yesterday.  The  Mayflower  was  the  'larva,'  the 
Mauretania  the  'mature  animal.'  But  the  May- 
flower was  a  house  of  prayer,  a  temple  of  worship, 
and,  on  every  Atlantic  breeze  that  blew,  songs  of 
praise  were  wafted  to  the  skies.  Concerning  the 
maiden  voyage  of  the  palatial  Mauretania  a  London 
paper  says  that  the  trip  was  rendered  hideous  by  the 
brutal  ferocity  of  gamblers  and  the  horrid  de- 
bauchery of  drunkards.  'The  smoking-room  be- 
came a  veritable  Bedlam.'  Match-stands,  spittoons, 
glasses,  soda-water  bottles,  trays,  and  chairs  were 
flying  in  all  directions.  On  arrival  at  New  York 
the  vessel  was  met  by  detectives,  who  had  been 
warned  by  Marconigrams  from  the  ship  (a  device 

Life's  Invisible  Constabulary  159 

of  which  the  Mayflower  could  not  boast  and  for 
which  she  had  no  such  use).  These  officials 
straightway  conducted  the  passengers  to  the  Jeffer- 
son police-court.  From  the  Mayflower  to  the 
Mauretania  is  a  big  'move  on' ;  but,  in  view  of  these 
records,  one  may  be  permitted  to  speculate  as  to  how 
far  the  movement  has  represented  a  real  advance. 
It  sometimes  happens,  as  Darwin  says,  that  the 
larvae  outstrip  the  mature  animal. 

The  principle  is  capable  of  somewhat  incisive 
individual  applications.  Ignorance,  in  the  immortal 
allegory,  moved  on  just  as  far  as  did  Christian  and 
Hopeful;  but  at  the  gates  of  the  Celestial  City 
'the  Shining  Ones  took  him  and  carried  him  through 
the  air  to  the  door  that  I  saw  in  the  side  of  the  hill 
and  put  him  in  there.'  Movement  kept  pace  with 
the  movement  of  the  pilgrims,  but  Progress  made  no 
advance  at  all.  And  perhaps  the  most  appealing  of 
all  illustrations  of  this  principle  is  Tom  Hood's: 

I    remember,   I   remember, 

The  fir-trees  dark  and  high; 
I  used  to  think  their  slender  tops 

Were   close   against   the   sky; 
It  was  a  childish  ignorance, 

But  now  'tis  little  joy 
To  know  I'm  farther  off  from  heaven 

Than  when  I  was  a  boy. 

The  larvae,  that  is  to  say,  were  in  advance  of  the 

160  The  Luggage  of  Life 

mature  animal  which  developed  from  them.  The 
unseen  constabulary  of  the  universe  can  move  us 
on;  but  it  is  not  in  their  power  to  see  that  the  move- 
ment shall  be  progress.  They  move  us  on  as  the 
wind  moves  the  ships :  it  is  for  us  to  trim  our  sails 
to  suit  our  destinies.  For  there  are  two  great  prin- 
ciples involved  in  getting  on.  There  is  the  principle 
of  the  propeller,  and  there  is  the  principle  of  the 
rudder.  The  propeller  may  make  the  pace,  but  only 
so  far  as  it  is  checked  and  directed  and  controlled 
by  the  rudder  can  we  be  sure  of  'getting  there.'  It 
is  so  fatally  easy  to  move  on. 

'But  where  ?'  cries  poor  Jo. 

'Well,  really,  constable,  you  know/  says  Mr. 
Snagsby  wistfully,  'really,  constable,  that  does  seem 
a  question.  Where,  you  know?' 

Mr.  Snagsby  is  quite  right.  It  is  a  question  in- 


THAT  was  little  Emmie's  trouble :  So  many  beds  in 
the  ward!  The  lines  are  almost  too  familiar  to 
need  quoting: 

'Yes,  and  I  will,'  said  Emmie,  *but  then,  if  I  call  to  the 

How  should  He  know  that  it's  me?  such  a  lot  of  beds  in 
the  ward !' 

That  was  a  puzzle  for  Annie.  Again  she  considered  and 

'Emmie,  you  put  out  your  arms,  and  you  leave  'em  outside 
on  the  bed — 

The  Lord  has  so  much  to  see  to !  but,  Emmie,  you  tell  it 
Him  plain, 

It's  the  little  girl  with  her  arms  lying  out  on  the  counter- 

Now  here,  with  an  art  that  is  all  the  more  wonder- 
ful because  it  is  the  art  that  conceals  art,  Tennyson 
has  stated  for  us  one  of  the  most  acute  problems  of 
the  Christian  faith.  The  Lord  has  so  much  to  see 
to!  Such  a  lot  of  beds  in  the  ward!  These  are  the 


162  The  Luggage  of  Life 

ugly  thoughts  that  have  come  knocking  at  all  our 
doors  at  some  time  or  other.  Did  I  say,  'at  some 
time  or  other'  ?  I  mean  at  one  especial  time.  These 
are  the  ugly  thoughts  that  have  entered  all  our 
heads  just  when  the  time  came  to  pray.  We  were 
burdened.  We  hungered  for  a  sense  of  the  divine 
sympathy,  the  divine  interest,  the  divine  care.  And, 
as  we  kneeled,  little  Emmie's  question  came  dinning 
itself  into  our  shuddering  souls :  'The  Lord  has  so 
much  to  see  to!  Such  a  lot  of  beds  in  the  ward!' 
We  rose  disillusioned.  When  we  kneeled,  the  place 
seemed  like  a  shrine.  When  we  rose,  it  was  only  a 
cupboard.  When  we  kneeled,  it  seemed  as  though 
we  were  about  to  hold  communion  with  the  very 
skies.  When  we  rose,  the  ceiling  itself  seemed  to 
be  grinning  at  our  defeat.  It  was  as  though  all  the 
lamps  of  faith  had  been  blown  out.  It  was  as 
though  life's  dearest  companion  had  wilfully  turned 
his  back  upon  us.  It  was  as  though  the  doors  of 
home  had  been  suddenly  slammed  in  our  faces.  'The 
Lord  has  so  much  to  see  to !  Such  a  lot  of  beds  in 
the  ward!' 

These  reflections  have  been  suggested  by  a  letter 
which  has  just  reached  me.  It  is  from  a  gentleman 
who  has  gained,  with  marked  distinction,  two  of  the 
highest  degrees  obtainable  on  this  side  of  the  world. 
I  mention  this  to  show  that  the  problem  is  not 

'So  many  Beds  in  the  Ward!'  163 

confined  to  poor  little  waifs  in  London  hospitals. 
Here,  on  the  one  hand,  we  have  little  Emmie;  and 
here,  on  the  other,  we  have  our  brilliant  university 
graduate.  But  in  both  cases  the  trouble  is  the  same. 
'I  have  given  up  praying!'  my  friend  tells  me.  'It 
seems  so  utterly  incredible  to  me  that  a  God  who 
controls  all  worlds  and  inhabits  all  time  can  have 
patience  to  hear  me  speak  to  Him  about  my  ex- 
aminations, and  my  love-affairs,  and  my  prospects.' 
Here  then,  quite  clearly,  we  are  face  to  face  with 
little  Emmie's  puzzle  over  again.  'The  Lord  has 
so  much  to  see  to !  Such  a  lot  of  beds  in  the  ward !' 
Little  Emmie  stated  the  case  from  the  standpoint 
of  the  child ;  the  letter  states  it  from  the  standpoint 
of  the  scholar.  That  is  all. 

Let  me  turn  for  a  moment  to  current  literature. 
Here  on  my  desk  is  a  London  magazine  containing 
an  article  by  Miss  Marie  Corelli.  It  is  not  written 
in  that  lady's  best  vein.  I  am  not  sure  that  it  is 
quite  worthy  of  her.  Her  whole  argument  seems  to 
be  that  the  Lord  has  far  too  much  to  see  to — that 
there  are  too  many  beds  in  the  wards — to  permit 
of  His  taking  an  individual  interest  either  in  a  child 
in  a  London  hospital  or  in  a  university  graduate  in 
Australia.  She  refers  to  the  Most  High  as  'that 
tremendous  Omnipotence  to  whose  intelligent  action 
we  owe  our  very  being — the  Generator  of  universes 

1 64  The  Luggage  of  Life 

— the  Creator  of  everything  the  eyes  can  see,  the 
ears  can  hear,  or  the  brain  can  imagine.'  And  she 
scorns  the  very  idea  that  'we,  the  children  of  one  out 
of  a  million  million  vast  productive  epochs,  should 
be  found  assuming  a  certain  "swaggering"  posture 
before  this  ever-present  Divine.' 

Here,  then,  we  have  the  selfsame  problem  stated 
in  three  different  ways :  first,  by  a  puny  little  patient 
in  the  children's  hospital,  then  by  a  graduate  of  an 
Australian  university,  and  once  again  by  a  modern 
novelist.  And  each  one  of  us,  if  we  cared  and  dared, 
could  state  it  afresh  in  the  throbbing  terms  of  some 
profound  personal  experience.  A  book  published 
some  time  ago  told  the  story  of  'old  Mr.  Westfield, 
a  preacher  of  the  Independent  persuasion  in  a  cer- 
tain Yorkshire  town,  who  was  discoursing  one  Sun- 
day with  his  utmost  eloquence  on  the  power  of 
prayer.  He  suddenly  stopped,  passed  his  hands 
slowly  over  his  head — a  favourite  gesture — and 
said,  in  dazed  tones :  "I  do  not  know,  my  friends, 
whether  you  ever  tried  praying;  for  my  part,  I 
gave  it  up  long  ago  as  a  bad  job."  The  poor  old 
gentleman  never  preached  again.  They  spoke  of 
the  strange  seizure  that  he  had  in  the  pulpit,  and 
very  cheerfully  and  kindly  contributed  to  the  pen- 
sion which  the  authorities  of  the  chapel  allowed 
him.  I  knew  him  five-and-twenty  years  ago,  a 

'So  many  Beds  in  the  Ward1.  165 

gentle  old  man  addicted  to  botany,  who  talked  of 
anything  but  spiritual  experiences.  I  have  often 
wondered  with  what  sudden  flash  of  insight  he 
looked  into  his  own  soul  that  day,  and  saw  himself 
bowing  down  silent  before  an  empty  shrine.' 

It  is  a  great  mystery,  a  very  great  mystery.  And 
yet — and  yet — when  you  come  to  think  of  it,  it  is 
all  wonderfully  and  exquisitely  simple.  'The  Lord 
has  so  much  to  see  to !'  It  all  turns  on  that.  'The 
Lord  has  so  much  to  see  to !'  But  what  if  He  has? 
Is  it  not  an  almost  universal  experience  that  the 
people  who  have  most  to  see  to  are  the  very  people 
who  see  to  each  separate  thing  most  thoroughly? 
If  a  piece  of  work  wants  doing,  we  ask  the  busy 
man  to  do  it.  He  will  consent  without  making  a 
fuss,  and  he  will  do  the  work  well.  'So  many  beds 
in  the  ward !'  And  what  if  there  are?  The  mothers 
who  have  most  mouths  to  feed  are  the  best  mothers, 
after  all !  We  recall  the  recitation  that  was  so  popu- 
lar some  years  ago.  It  told  of  a  father  and  mother 
struggling  to  support  a  large  family.  A  handsome 
offer  came  from  a  childless  home.  Would  they,  who 
had  so  many,  part  with  one?  Father  and  mother 
lit  a  candle  and  went  from  room  to  room  among 
their  slumbering  bairns;  but  they  found  each  as 
dear  as  though  each  were  their  only  child.  'So 
many  beds!'  said  little  Emmie.  'So  many  beds!' 

166  The  Luggage  of  Life 

said  the  tempter  with  his  bags  of  gold.  But  when 
the  many  beds  were  visited  the  parents  shook  their 
heads  over  each.  Not  one  could  be  spared.  Indeed, 
the  experience  of  this  old  world  of  ours  shows  con- 
clusively that  those  children  turn  out  best  who  come 
of  large  families.  Darwin  makes  a  great  point  of 
that.  So  that  it  is  false  to  fact  that  a  child  gets  more 
care  if  his  is  the  only  cot  in  the  house.  All  experi- 
ence goes  to  prove  that  a  child  is  enriched,  and  not 
impoverished,  when  the  parents  have  'so  much  to 
see  to' — 'so  many  beds  in  the'  home!  It  is  fair, 
therefore,  to  say  that  there  is  not  even  a  prima  fade 
case  to  be  made  out  for  the  fear  which  assailed  the 
faith  of  our  little  sick  waif,  our  Master  of  Arts, 
and  our  distinguished  authoress.  There  is  abso- 
lutely nothing  in  it.  Reasoning,  as  alone  we  may, 
from  things  terrestrial  to  things  celestial,  it  is  clear 
that  the  great  Father,  who  has  so  many  children 
to  see  to,  will  take  the  very  best  care  of  each  individ- 
ual child,  and  will  bring  up  His  immense  family 
with  the  greatest  credit  to  Himself. 

But  even  if,  in  spite  of  all  this,  the  argument  be 
allowed  the  honour  of  serious  analysis,  it  is  so  easy 
to  expose  its  fallacy!  It  will  be  noticed  that  the 
real  difficulty,  in  each  case,  lies  in  the  greatness  of 
God.  It  seemed  incredible  to  little  Emmie,  to  our 
Master  of  Arts,  and  to  Miss  Corelli  that  a  God  who 

'So  many  Beds  in  the  Ward!'  167 

is  'the  Generator  of  universes  and  the  Creator  of 
everything'  can  be  concerned  with  the  cares  of  the 
individual.  Now  the  trouble  is,  not  that  they  have 
made  God  to  seem  too  great,  but  that  they  have  not 
made  Him  great  enough.  They  have  belittled  Him ! 
Now,  how  great  is  God  ?  That  is  the  real  question ! 
Is  He  great  to  the  point  of  absolute  infinity?  Is 
He,  or  is  He  not?  Now,  if  God  is  great  to  the 
point  of  infinity,  it  follows,  beyond  all  controversy, 
that  there  is  no  stick  or  stone  in  all  His  universes 
of  which  He  is  not  perpetually  cognizant  and  con- 
scious. Or — to  put  it  the  other  way — if  there  is  a 
feather  or  a  straw  blowing  about  the  solar  system 
which  has,  for  a  fraction  of  a  second,  eluded  His 
knowledge  or  escaped  His  observation,  then,  by  just 
so  much,  His  greatness  falls  short  of  infinity.  If, 
therefore,  I  do  really  believe  that  God  is  not  only 
great  enough  to  be  'the  Generator  of  universes  and 
Creator  of  everything,'  but  great  enough  to  be  in- 
finite, then  I  cannot  help  believing  that  no  sparrow 
falls  to  the  ground  without  His  notice  and  that  the 
very  hairs  of  my  head  are  all  numbered.  This  has 
never  been  better  stated  than  by  Faber^: 

O  Majesty  unspeakable  and  dread! 

Wert  Thou  less  mighty  than  Thou  art, 
Thou  wert,  O  God,  too  great  for  our  belief, 

Too  little  for  our  heart. 

i68  The  Luggage  of  Life 

But  greatness  which  is  infinite  makes  room 

For  all  things  in  its  lap  to  lie; 
We  should  be  crushed  by  a  magnificence 

Short  of  infinity. 

But  what  is  infinite  must  be  a  home, 

A  shelter  for  the  meanest  life, 
Where  it  is  free  to  make  its  greatest  growth 

Far  from  the  touch  of  strife. 

Yes ;  there  are  many  whose  hearts  have  ached  in 
sympathy  with  those  of  little  Emmie,  and  our 
Master  of  Arts,  and  our  eminent  novelist.  They 
have  known  the  anguish  of  the  empty  shrine.  Let 
them  turn  their  faces  in  the  direction  I  have  tried  to 
indicate.  And  if  they  will  follow  that  road  they  will 
find  that  it  leads  home,  and  they  will  rest  sweetly 
when  they  get  there ! 



WHO  that  has  lived  in  England  has  not  stored, 
among  his  chiefest  treasures,  his  memories  of  the 
old  English  country  lane — its  serpentine  folds,  its 
gentle  undulations,  its  over-arching  oaks,  its  de- 
licious and  fragrant  hedgerows,  its  twitter  of  birds, 
its  hum  of  insects,  and  its  glimpses  of  golden  butter- 
cups in  the  spreading  fields  beyond  ?  All  these  will 
haunt  him  till  his  last  sun  sets. 

We  have  heard  a  great  deal  since  then  of  the  rule 
of  the  road;  but  the  lane  has  a  law  of  its  own;  and 
the  law  of  the  lane  is  an  infinitely  loftier  and  an 
infinitely  lovelier  thing  than  the  rule  of  the  road. 
And  that  is  saying  much,  for  Mr.  G.  K.  Chesterton, 
our  greatest  literary  acrobat  (notwithstanding  his 
insatiable  fondness  for  standing  on  his  head),  says 
that  the  indescribable  charm  of  Dickens  may  be  best 
summed  up  in  one  satisfying  phrase  used  by  one  of 
his  own  characters.  *  "My  friend,"  said  Mr. 
Perker*s  clerk  to  Job  Trotter,  "you've  got  the  key  of 


172  The  Luggage  of  Life 

the  street"  And,  says  Mr.  Chesterton,  'Dickens 
himself  had,  in  the  most  sacred  and  serious  sense  of 
the  term,  the  key  of  the  street.' 

Few  of  us  understand  the  street.  Even  when  we 
step  into  it  we  step  into  it  doubtfully,  as  into  a 
house  or  room  of  strangers.  Few  of  us  see  through 
the  shining  riddle  of  the  street,  the  strange  folk  that 
belong  to  the  street  only — the  street-walker  or  the 
street-arab,  the  nomads,  who,  generation  after 
generation,  have  kept  their  ancient  secrets  in  the  full 
blaze  of  the  sun.  Of  the  street  at  night  many  of  us 
know  even  less.  The  street  at  night  is  a  great  house 
locked  up.  But  Dickens  had,  if  ever  man  had,  the 
key  of  the  street.  His  earth  was  the  stones  of  the 
street;  his  stars  were  the  lamps  of  the  street;  his 
hero  was  the  man  of  the  street.  He  could  open  the 
inmost  door  of  his  house — the  door  that  leads  into 
that  secret  passage  which  is  lined  with  houses  and 
roofed  with  stars. 

Yes,  the  street  is  a  wonderful  place — a  place  of 
mystery  and  dread.  But  the  lane  is  more  wonder- 
ful still;  for  the  street  conceals,  whilst  the  lane 
reveals.  The  street  is  a  place  of  secrecy;  the  lane 
is  a  palace  of  song.  Even  if  a  man  is  born  who, 
like  Charles  Dickens,  possesses  the  key  of  the  street, 
he  can  at  best  but  tell  us  what  man  is.  But  he 
who  reads  the  riddle  of  the  lane  knows  what  God  is. 

The  Law  of  the  Lane  173 

In  the  lane  'earth  is  cramm'd  with  heaven,  and 
every  common  bush  afire  with  God/ 

Little  flower,  but  if  I  could  understand 
What  you  are,  root  and  all,  and  all  in  all, 
I  should  know  what  God  and  man  is. 

Charles  Kingsley  used  to  say  that,  whenever  he 
strolled  down  an  English  lane,  he  felt  as  though 
everything  about  him,  every  leaf,  and  bud,  and 
flower,  were  saying  something  to  him,  and  he  was 
pained  and  oppressed  by  the  feeling  of  his  own 

Yes,  compared  with  the  lane,  the  street  is  a  sordid 
place.  It  has  its  charms,  but  its  charms  are  for 
sale.  It  barters  its  beauties  for  gold.  It  was  from 
the  street  that  Bunyan  caught  his  conception  of 
Vanity  Fair.  The  lane  displays  its  shining  wares 
no  less  attractively,  but  offers  them  without  money 
and  without  price.  Who  has  ever  found  quite  the 
same  satisfaction  in  an  afternoon's  shopping  as  we 
found  in  the  old  lane  long  ago?  The  wild  flowers 
that  the  lane  offered  us  in  the  spring-time,  when 
the  long  winter  was  past  and  gone;  the  tangle  of 
hawthorn  and  dog-rose  and  convolvulus  that  we 
found  there  in  the  summer;  the  nuts  and  black- 
berries of  autumn,  and  the  redder  berries  with  which 
we  decked  the  home  in  winter, — the  lane  was  never 

174  The  Luggage  of  Life 

without  its  treasures.  And  they  were  always  freely 
ours.  There  was  no  stint  in  the  lane.  Is  it  not 
Lowell  who  tells  us  that — 

Bubbles  we  buy  with  a  whole  soul's  tasking ; 
'Tis  heaven  alone  that  is  given  away, 
'Tis  only  God  may  be  had  for  the  asking? 

And  then,  too,  the  lane  was  a  winding  place. 
When  we  were  young  we  puzzled  over  its  crazy 
progress,  and  stupidly  wished  that  it  were  straight. 
Since  then  we  have  had  to  do  with  the  realities  of 
life;  and  we  have  learned,  by  tiresome  experience 
of  their  monotony,  that  the  last  word  in  art  is  a 
graceful  curve.  We  have  driven,  it  may  be,  along 
the  great  prairie  roads  of  the  Western  world — roads 
that,  looking  back,  seemed  to  come  in  an  unbending 
line  from  the  Atlantic,  and  that,  looking  forward, 
seemed  to  run  in  one  unbending  line  to  the  foot- 
hills of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  Or  we  have  made 
our  weary  progress  along  the  great  undeviating 
tracks  that  intersect  the  vast  Australian  plains,  and 
that  seem  to  run  without  a  swerve  from  world's-end 
to  world's-end.  We  have  journeyed  along  the  street 
which  is  called  Straight,  and  our  hearts  have  longed 
the  while  for  the  tortuous  but  romantic  folds  of  the 
dear  old  lane  at  home.  And  for  our  tardy  prefer- 
ence there  is  a  reason,  psychological,  and  deeply 

The  Law  of  the  Lane  175 

based.  The  road  across  the  prairies,  the  track  across 
the  plains,  the  street  which  is  called  Straight,  are 
untrue  to  life  and  experience.  They  are  artificial, 
unnatural,  forced.  Life  is  a  lane;  it  abounds  in 
surprises;  it  twists  and  doubles,  and  curves  and 
folds.  We  cannot  know  what  is  just  beyond.  We 
quickly  lose  sight  of  our  yesterdays.  We  are  kindly 
compelled  to  take  our  to-morrows  on  trust.  As 
Klingle  says : 

God  broke  our  years  to  hours  and  days, 

That,  hour  by  hour,  and  day  by  day, 

Just  going  on  a  little  way, 
We  might  be  able  all  along  to  keep  quite  strong, 
Should  all  the  weight  of  life 

Be  laid  across  our  shoulders,  and  the  future  rife 
With  woe  and  struggle,  meet  us  face  to  face 
At  just  one  place, 

We  could  not  go; 

Our  feet  would  stop,  and  so 
God  lays  a  little  on  us  every  day. 

That  is  the  law  of  the  lane. 

And  the  last  song  that  the  birds  are  singing  in 
the  old  lane  is  perhaps  the  blithest  of  them  all.  It 
tells  us  that  life  does  not  lose  its  romance  as  the 
years  wear  away.  It  was  not  until  we  had  left  the 
lane  for  twenty  years  that  we  discovered  its  beauty. 
We  find  far  more  pleasure  in  the  winding  path  now 
than  we  did  when  we  perspired  on  sultry  summer 

176  The  Luggage  of  Life 

afternoons  beneath  the  weight  of  our  baskets  of  nuts 
or  buckets  of  blackberries.  We  were  choked  with 
dust  and  tired  to  death,  and  were  too  close  to  catch 
the  lane's  loveliness  in  its  right  perspective.  All  of 
which  is  hugely  significant. 

We  set  out  on  this  ramble  in  the  excellent  com- 
pany of  Mr.  Chesterton.  Let  us  return  to  him. 
'Mrs.  Nickleby,'  he  says,  'stands  for  a  great  truth 
which  we  must  not  forget :  the  truth  that  experience 
is  not  in  real  life  a  saddening  thing  at  all.  The  peo- 
ple who  have  had  misfortunes  are  generally  the  peo- 
ple who  love  to  talk  about  them.  Experience  is 
really  one  of  the  gaieties  of  old  age,  one  of  its  dis- 
sipations. Mere  memory  becomes  a  kind  of  de- 
bauch. Experience  may  be  disheartening  to  those 
who  are  foolish  enough  to  try  to  co-ordinate  it  and 
to  draw  deductions  from  it ;  but  to  those  happy  souls, 
like  Mrs.  Nickleby,  to  whom  relevancy  is  nothing, 
the  whole  of  their  past  life  is  like  an  inexhaustible 
fairyland.  Just  as  we  take  a  rambling  walk  because 
we  know  that  a  district  is  beautiful,  so  they  indulge 
a  rambling  mind  because  they  know  that  a  whole 
existence  is  interesting.  A  boy  does  not  plunge  into 
his  future  more  romantically  and  at  random  than 
they  plunge  into  their  past.'  Even  the  folds  and 
stretches  that  our  tired  feet  have  left  behind  them 
become  transfigured  with  exquisite  beauty  as  we 

The  Law  of  the  Lane  177 

press  courageously  on  and  thread  the  labyrinth  of 
life's  long  lane.  The  Present  has  a  lovely  way  of 
wreathing  an  aureole  about  the  brows  of  the  Past. 
And  even  though  the  Present  seems  nothing  but  a 
dreary  commonplace,  the  Future  will  do  as  much 
for  her  in  God's  good  time.  He  maketh  everything 
to  be  beautiful  in  its  time;  but  it  may  not  be  the 
present  time.  To-morrow  we  shall  see  the  glory  of 
to-day.  'You  always  said  my  lane  would  turn,' 
wrote  the  'Lady  of  the  Decoration,'  'and  it  has 
turned  into  a  broad  road  bordered  by  cherry-blos- 
soms and  wistaria.'  It  is  always  so.  The  birds  in 
the  hedges  on  either  hand  are  singing  that  we  really 
lose  nothing  that  is  behind  by  pressing  bravely  to- 
wards what  lies  before.  All  the  loveliness  of  the 
lane  is  ours,  even  though  we  have  nearly  reached  the 

Grow  old  along  with  me ! 

The  best  is  yet  to  be, 
The  last  of  life,  for  which  the  first  was  made. 

Our  times  are  in  His  hand, 

Who  saith,  A  whole  I  planned. 
Youth  shows  but  half;  trust  God;  see  all,  nor  be  afraid. 



IMMENSITY  is  magnificent  medicine.  That  is  one 
reason — if  we  may  let  the  cat  out  of  the  bag — 
why  the  doctors  send  us  to  the  seaside.  We  forget 
the  tiddley-winking  in  the  contemplation  of  the  tre- 
mendous. We  lose  life's  shallow  worries  in  the 
vision  of  unplumbed  depths.  Those  who  have  read 
Mrs.  Barclay's  Rosary  will  remember  that,  in  the 
crisis  of  her  life,  the  heroine,  the  Hon.  Jane  Cham- 
pion, determined  to  consult  her  physician,  Sir 
Deryck  Brand.  And,  after  having  realized  the 
fearful  strain  to  which  his  poor  patient's  nerves 
had  been  subjected,  he  exclaimed :  'Here  is  a  pre- 
scription for  you!  See  a  few  big  things!'  He 
urged  her  to  go  out  west,  and  see  the  stupendous 
Falls  of  Niagara,  to  go  out  east  and  see  the  Great 
Pyramid.  'Go  for  the  big  things/  he  said ;  'you  will 
like  to  remember,  when  you  are  bothering  about 
pouring  water  in  and  out  of  tea-cups,  "Niagara  is 
flowing  still !"  ' 

All  of  which  is,  of  course,  very  excellent.    It  is 

A  Tonic  of  Big  Things  179 

the  word  we  need.  The  tendency  of  life  is  to  drift 
among  small  things — small  anxieties,  small  pleas- 
ures, small  ideas,  and  small  talk.  He  is  a  very  wise 
physician  indeed  who  can  prescribe  for  us  a  tonic  of 
big  things.  In  the  course  of  that  long  struggle  in 
his  own  life  which  reflects  itself  in  Christian's 
lengthy  pilgrimage  to  the  Cross,  John  Bunyan 
enters  in  his  autobiography  two  records  that  are 
worthy  of  frequent  observation.  I  quote,  of  course, 
from  Grace  Abounding :  ' While  I  was  thus  afflicted 
with  the  fears  of  my  own  damnation,'  he  says, 
'there  were  two  things  would  make  me  wonder. 
One  was,  when  I  saw  old  people  hunting  after  the 
things  of  this  life,  as  if  they  should  live  here  always ; 
the  other  was,  when  I  found  professors  much  dis- 
tressed and  cast  down  when  they  met  with  outward 
losses.  Lord,  thought  I,  what  ado  is  here  about  such 
little  things  as  these !' 

That  is  the  point:  'Such  little  things  as  these!' 
We  are  like  the  pebbles  on  the  beach.  It  is  not  easy 
to  keep  among  the  big  ones  at  the  top — the  big  ones 
that  feel  the  laughing  caress  of  every  wave  and  the 
lovely  radiance  of  every  sunbeam.  The  tendency 
is  to  get  shaken  down  among  the  small  shingle 
underneath.  But  we  are  forgetting  the  other  record 
from  the  inner  life  of  Bunyan:  'Upon  a  day  the 
good  providence  of  God  called  me  to  Bedford,  to 

i  So  The  Luggage  of  Life 

work  at  my  calling,  and  in  one  of  the  streets  of  that 
town  I  came  where  there  were  three  or  four  poor 
women  sitting  at  a  door,  in  the  sun,  talking  about  the 
things  of  God.  I  heard,  but  understood  not,  for 
they  were  far  above,  out  of  my  reach.  Their  talk 
was  about  a  new  birth,  the  work  of  God  in  their 
hearts ;  they  talked  how  God  had  visited  their  souls 
with  His  love  in  the  Lord  Jesus,  and  with  what 
words  and  promises  they  had  been  refreshed,  com- 
forted, and  supported.' 

These  two  keynotes,  the  one  taken  from  the  first 
quotation,  and  the  other  from  the  second,  are  worth 
repeating.  'Such  little  things  as  these!'  'The 
things  of  God — far  above — out  of  my  reach/  The 
soul  of  the  poor  tinker  was  tired  of  the  microscopic 
and  hungry  for  the  majestic.  He  craved  'a  tonic  of 
big  things,'  and  the  talk  of  the  four  poor  women 
sitting  in  the  sun  was  like  a  banquet  to  his  famished 

The  thing  has  its  parallel  everywhere.  To  take 
one  of  the  most  familiar  of  all  our  religious  classics, 
it  occurs  in  John  Wesley's  Journal.  We  all  remem- 
ber how  pitifully  weary  the  great  Methodist  apostle 
became  of  the  crowd  of  small  men  who  buzzed  about 
him  with  a  multitude  of  small  concerns.  And  we 
have  all  felt  the  glow  of  his  delight  when  he  found 
some  kindred  spirit  with  whom  he  could  freely  con- 

A  Tonic  of  Big  Things  181 

verse  on  the  great  themes  of  the  Christian  gospel. 
There  are  times  when  we  get  so  tired  of  the  plain; 
we  love  to  get  among  the  mountains.  The  soul 
makes  its  own  pilgrimage  among  great,  rugged, 
snow-clad  ranges,  along  whose  tracks  and  passes  she 
never  loses  her  way.  She  loves  the  peaks  that  pierce 
the  sky;  she  enjoys  'the  tonic  of  big  things.' 

In  Lord  Morley's  magnum  opus  he  reproduces 
one  of  Mr.  Gladstone's  letters,  in  which  the  great 
statesman  tells  of  a  visit  to  Dr.  Chalmers.  And  by 
nothing  was  Mr.  Gladstone  more  impressed  than  by 
the  utter  incapacity  of  Chalmers  to  indulge  in  small 
talk.  He  simply  lived  among  mountains.  Every- 
thing about  Chalmers  was  massive,  monumental, 
magnificent.  Who  that  has  read  it  can  ever  forget 
his  historic  utterance  before  the  General  Assembly 
of  the  Church  of  Scotland,  when  he  explained  his 
change  of  views  on  the  subject  of  ministerial  prepa- 
ration? He  explained,  first  of  all,  the  change  that 
had  come  over  his  own  spiritual  life.  'I  was  wrong, 
sir !'  he  cried,  'strangely  blinded  that  I  was !  What, 
sir,  is  the  object  of  mathematical  science?  MAGNI- 
TUDE, and  the  proportion  of  magnitude.  But  then, 
sir,  I  had  forgotten  two  magnitudes — I  thought  not 
of  the  littleness  of  time,  I  recklessly  thought  not  of 
the  greatness  of  eternity!'  That  word  'magnitude' 
was  characteristic  of  the  man.  And  it  profoundly 

1 82  The  Luggage  of  Life 

impressed  Mr.  Gladstone  as  being  characteristic  of 
his  conversation.  When  only  tiny  themes  presented 
themselves,  the  doctor  was  as  silent  as  the  Sphinx. 
'He  had  nothing  to  say,'  says  Mr.  Gladstone;  'he 
was  exactly  like  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  who  said 
of  himself  that  he  had  no  small  talk.  His  whole 
mind  was  always  full  of  some  great  subject,  and  he 
could  not  deviate  from  it.'  'Chalmers  never  wasted 
time  on  small  topics/  Dr.  Donald  Fraser  tells  us  in 
his  biography,  'if  he  could  find  a  man  fit  to  enter 
on  great  matters.' 

In  the  classical  and  memorable  passage  towards 
the  end  of  the  Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Roman  Em- 
pire, Gibbon  describes  the  triumph  of  the  most 
majestic  masterpieces  of  Roman  architecture. 
Huns,  Goths,  and  Vandals  had  done  their  worst. 
The  city  had  been  sacked  again  and  again ;  the  hand 
of  the  iconoclast  had  been  pitiless.  Everything  de- 
structible had  been  ruthlessly  destroyed;  yet  some 
things  remained.  They  remained  because  they  were 
not  destructible;  and  those  things  were  the  big 
things.  The  fretwork  and  the  fancy  work,  the  deli- 
cate carvings  and  dainty  ornamentations  had  fallen 
before  the  brutality  of  the  Vandals ;  but  the  tower- 
ing columns  and  colossal  arches  defied  alike  the  teeth 
of  time  and  the  malice  of  the  barbarian.  The  big 
things  stand.  'Now  abideth.  .  .  .'  It  is  ever  so. 

A  Tonic  of  Big  Things  183 

Every  preacher  knows  that  it  is  the  great  themes 
that  hold  the  field;  and  they  hold  the  field  simply 
because  the  people,  tired  to  death  of  trifles,  need 
'a  tonic  of  big  things/  The  preacher  of  small 
subjects  is  doomed.  The  Canadian  Presbyterian 
commented  recently  on  the  farewell  services  of  a 
minister  who  was  closing  a  two  years'  ministry. 
A  venerable  member  of  his  congregation,  in  bidding 
his  pastor  a  tearful  'good-bye,'  remarked:  'Well, 
sir,  I  am  sorry  to  see  you  go.  I  never  had  but 
one  objection  to  you:  your  preaching  was  always 
too  horizontal^?  That  is  the  worst  of  small  things, 
however  prettily  presented.  A  multitude  of  grains 
of  sand,  however  beautiful  each  separate  grain  may 
be  in  itself,  only  makes  a  desert  after  all ;  and  there 
is  no  blinking  the  fact  that  deserts  are  not  popular 
institutions.  People  don't  like  living  in  deserts ; 
they  like  altitudes,  magnitudes,  infinitudes;  they 
revel  in  the  ruggedness  of  the  ranges.  'I  almost 
envy  some  of  these  good  people  who  can  stand 
in  the  middle  of  one  of  their  prayers  and  touch 
all  four  sides.'  It  is  the  'Lady  of  the  Decoration* 
who  is  speaking;  and  she  goes  on:  'They  know 
what  they  want,  and  are  satisfied  when  they  get  it; 
but  I  want  the  moon  and  the  stars  and  the  sun 
thrown  in!'  Yes;  our  poor  'Jmmanity  needs  'a 
tonic  of  big  things.' 

1 84  The  Luggage  of  Life 

The  preacher  must  take  note.  The  pulpit  is  the 
place  for  magnificent  verities.  It  is  the  home  of 
immensities,  infinities,  eternities.  'We  must  preach 
more  upon  the  great  texts  of  the  Scriptures/  says 
Dr.  Jowett,  'we  must  preach  on  those  tremendous 
passages  whose  vastnesses  almost  terrify  us  as  we 
approach  them/ 

Professor  Henry  Drummond  was  once  sailing 
along  the  west  coast  of  Africa.  His  deck  com- 
panions were  four  men,  no  one  of  whom  could 
understand  the  other;  they  spake  in  divers  tongues. 
But  at  last  one  produced  a  Bible.  The  second 
hurried  to  his  cabin  and  appeared  with  his;  then 
the  third,  and  then  the  fourth.  By  a  stroke  of 
genius,  the  first  opened  his  at  the  third  chapter 
of  John's  Gospel,  and  the  great  sixteenth  verse. 
The  others  opened  theirs,  and  pointed  with  their 
fingers  to  the  place;  and  the  glow  on  their  faces 
was  an  eloquent  language  in  itself.  Men  can  see 
the  mountain-peak  over  a  multitude  of  intervening 
obstacles.  And  no  obstacle  of  race  or  language, 
rank  or  station,  can  preclude  men  from  the  fellow- 
ship of  life's  immensities.  'They  shall  cry  unto  the 
Lord,  and  He  shall  send  them  a  Saviour,  and  a  great 
one!  Everything  in  the  gospel  is  'a  tonic  of  big 



IT  was  the  church  anniversary.  On  the  Sunday 
there  were  special  sermons,  solemn  praise,  and 
stately  anthems.  Everything  was  inspiring,  im- 
pressive, sublime.  On  the  Monday  there  were 
sandwiches,  cream  puffs,  and  jam-tarts.  The  steam- 
ing urns  imparted  a  genial  glow  to  the  spirits  of  the 
guests,  for  waves  of  laughter  rippled  and  broke 
through  the  hum  of  friendly  chatter.  I  had  taken 
part  in  the  solemn  services  of  the  Sunday,  and  had 
been  asked  to  speak  at  the  tea-meeting  on  the 
Monday.  I  drew  aside  to  collect  my  thoughts. 
But  my  thoughts  politely,  but  firmly,  declined  to 
be  collected.  They  insisted  on  propounding  to  me 
this  arresting  conundrum — tell  us,  they  clamoured, 
the  philosophical  connexion  between  the  sermons  of 
yesterday  and  the  sandwiches  of  to-day.  What 
relation  exists  between  singing  and  scones?  What 
fellowship  hath  religion  with  revelry?  Why  follow 
the  sacred  worship  of  the  Lord's  Day  with  a  carnival 
of  confectionery? 

I  took  my  Bible  from  my  pocket,  and  had  not 

1 86  The  Luggage  of  Life 

to  search  far  before  I  came  upon  a  clue.  On  one 
of  the  very  earliest  pages  of  the  sacred  records  I 
lit  upon  a  significant  statement.  It  occurs  at  a 
crisis  in  Hebrew  history.  It  was  a  time  of  wealthy 
revelation  and  divine  illumination.  Here  it  is: 
'They  saw  God,  and  did  eat  and  drink.'  There 
you  have  revelation  and  revelry  side  by  side.  There 
you  have  the  secret  of  all  worship  and  the  germ  of 
all  tea-meetings.  'They  saw  God' — that  is  the  prin- 
ciple of  the  sermon;  'and  did  eat  and  drink' — that 
is  the  principle  of  the  sandwich.  What  more  could 
I  desire?  Yet  I  read  on,  and,  to  my  amazement,  I 
found  these  two  great  principles  running  side  by 
side,  like  a  pair  of  white  horses  perfectly  matched, 
through  the  entire  volume.  The  sandwich  was 
never  far  from  the  sermon. 

In  the  Old  Testament  all  the  stirring  seasons 
of  spiritual  elevation  and  national  enlightenment 
were  Feasts — the  Feast  of  Pentecost,  the  Feast  of 
Tabernacles,  the  Feast  of  Passover,  the  Feast  of 
Trumpets,  the  Feast  of  Dedication,  and  so  on. 
Revelation  blends  with  revelry.  The  chapter  that 
tells  of  Israel's  redemption  from  Egypt  by  the 
shedding  of  blood — a  classic  of  revelation — tells 
also,  in  precise  and  graphic  detail,  of  the  eating  of 
the  lamb.  The  passage  that  tells  how  Elijah  saw  the 
angel  tells  also  how  the  angel  said,  'Arise  and  eat !' 

Sermons  and  Sandwiches  187 

'And,  behold,  a  cake  baken  on  the  coals,  and  a  cruse 
of  water.' 

The  sandwich  principle  keeps  pace  with  the 
sermon  principle.  Revelry  goes  hand  in  hand  with 
revelation.  The  tea-meeting  is  never  far  from  the 
special  services.  But  the  most  revealing  element  in 
the  ancient  economy  was  its  law  of  sacrifice.  The 
old  dispensation  crystallized  itself  in  the  altar.  And 
here  we  all  sit  at  the  feet  of  Professor  Robertson 
Smith.  He  made  this  theme  peculiarly  his  own. 
And  he  fearlessly  affirms  that  we  cannot  understand 
that  solemn  and  striking  symbol  of  patriarchal  faith 
unless  we  grasp  the  fact  that  the  altar  was  first  of 
all  a  table.  'This,'  he  says,  'is  the  key  to  the  whole 
subject  of  sacrifice,  and  the  basis  of  all  Semitic 
covenants.  When  the  two  parties  have  eaten  of 
the  same  victim,  and  thus  become  participants  in 
a  common  life,  a  living  bond  of  union  is  established 
between  them,  and  they  are  no  longer  enemies,  but 
brothers/  Here,  then,  are  the  two  laws — the  law 
of  the  sermon  and  the  law  of  the  sandwich,  the 
principle  of  revelation  and  the  principle  of  revelry 
— in  closest  juxtaposition  at  the  very  climax  of  the 
old  world's  illumination. 

Crossing  the  border-line  into  the  New  Testament, 
the  same  singular  conjunction  is  everywhere.  'This 
beginning  of  miracles  did  Jesus  in  Cana  of  Galilee, 

1 88  The  Luggage  of  Life 

and  manifested  forth  His  glory.'  The  revelation 
was  a  revelry.  It  was  at  a  marriage  feast.  Later 
miracles  followed  the  same  line — the  feeding  of  four 
thousand,  the  feeding  of  five  thousand,  and  so  on. 
Loaves  and  fishes — the  representation  of  the  sand- 
wich— were  never  far  from  the  most  revealing 
sermons  of  the  Son  of  Man.  And  even  when,  after 
His  resurrection,  He  deigns  to  show  Himself  to  His 
astounded  fishermen,  He  feeds  them.  'And  they 
saw  a  fire  of  coals,  and  fish  laid  thereon,  and  bread.' 
Revelation  and  revelry  are  together  still.  And  just 
as  the  Old  Testament  reaches  its  natural  climax  in 
the  Altar  of  Sacrifice,  so  the  New  Testament  reaches 
its  culminating  revelation  in  the  Table  of  the  Lord. 
There  'we  see  God,  and  do  eat  and  drink.'  The 
two  principles  join  hand  in  hand.  And  even  when 
the  Great  Revealer  spoke  of  heaven,  these  two 
thoughts  were  always  in  His  mind.  Heaven  is  a 
place  of  revelation  and  of  revelry.  There  the  pure 
in  heart  see  God;  and  there  we  sit  down  at  the 
Marriage  Supper  of  the  Lamb.  Men  often  do 
things,  as  the  swallows  do,  under  the  guidance  of 
some  sure  instinct,  yet  without  detecting,  or  even 
desiring,  any  explanation  of  their  odd  behaviour. 
It  is  thus  that  the  Church  has  wedded  her  revelries 
to  her  revelations.  She  has  rightly  set  the  sand- 
wich over  against  the  sermon.  The  union  is 

Sermons  and  Sandwiches  189 

indissoluble.  The  solemn  service  and  the  social 
meal  are  inseparable.  These  two  hath  God  joined 

Now  in  these  two  elements  I  find  my  bond  of 
brotherhood  with  the  holiest  and  the  lowliest. 
Among  the  angels  and  archangels  and  all  the 
company  of  the  heavenly  host  I  know  not  what 
seraphic  spirits  may  burn.  But  I  know  that  there 
is  no  altitude  higher  than  this  to  which  they  can 
attain — they  see  God!  But  so  do  I.  Then  they 
and  I  are  brothers.  In  the  splendid  revelations  of 
Christian  worship  we  stand  allied  to  the  holiest  in 
the  height.  And  in  eating  and  drinking,  on  the 
other  hand,  we  are  kinned  to  the  lowliest.  I  watch 
the  birds  as  they  fly.  It  seems  to  me  that  they 
live  in  one  element,  and  I  in  another;  we  have 
nothing  in  common.  I  watch  the  rabbit  as  he 
shyly  peeps  from  his  burrow.  How  far.  removed 
his  life  from  mine!  I  watch  the  trout  as  they 
flash  and  dart  in  the  shades  and  shallows  of  the 
stream.  There  is  no  point  of  fellowship  between 
them  and  me.  But  wait!  The  rabbit  sits  upon 
his  haunches  nibbling  at  a  blade  of  grass,  on  which 
a  dewdrop  glistens.  He  eats  and  drinks!  So  do 
I.  The  bird  flutters  down  from  the  bough  to  seize 
a  morsel  on  the  lawn.  He  eats  and  drinks!  So 
do  I.  The  fish  come  darting  up  the  stream  to 

The  Luggage  of  Life 

devour  the  gnats  that,  in  trying  to  escape  the 
birds,  have  fallen  upon  the  glassy  surface.  They 
eat  and  drink!  So  do  I.  If  the  sermon  allies 
me  to  angels  and  to  seraphs,  the  sandwich  allies 
me  to  all  things  furry  and  feathered  and  finny. 
.When  we  were  prattlers  our  nurses  used  to  amuse 
us  with  fantastic  pictures  of  lions  and  storks  and 
ants  and  dolphins  and  men  all  sitting  down,  cheek 
by  jowl,  at  the  same  table. 

Later  on  we  despised  the  old  print  as  a  furious 
freak  of  some  farcical  fancy.  But  now  we  know 
that  it  was  nothing  of  the  kind.  It  was  a  severely 
accurate  delineation  of  the  real  and  sober  truth. 
Indeed,  it  was  less  than  the  truth,  for  no  superhuman 
guests  were  there.  The  universe  is  a  banqueting- 
table.  That  sage  old  friar — Francis  d'Assisi — was 
within  the  mark,  after  all,  when  he  addressed  the 
creatures  as  Brother  Hare,  Sister  Lark,  Brother 
Wolf,  and  so  on.  The  sermon  element  brings  me 
into  intimate  and  fraternal  relationship  with  all  the 
flaming  hosts  above.  The  sandwich  element  brings 
me  into  league  with  the  tigers,  and  the  tomtits, 
and  the  trout.  The  special  services  of  anniversary 
Sunday,  and  the  tea-meeting  of  the  Monday,  set 
forth  in  harmonious  combination  the  breadth  and 
catholicity  of  man's  holiest  and  lowliest  brother- 

Sermons  and  Sandwiches  191 

But  the  instinct  of  the  tea-meeting  tells  me  yet 
one  other  thing.  I  see  now  that  I  have  misinter- 
preted the  majesty  of  God.  'It  is  the  pathetic  fate 
of  Deity/  says  Pascal,  'to  be  everlastingly  misunder- 
stood.' I  had  always  supposed  that  the  glory  of 
God  was  embarrassing,  bewildering,  dazzling!  I 
had  thought  of  it  as  repelling,  terrifying,  paralysing! 
But  now  I  see  that  it  is  nothing  of  the  kind.  'They 
saw  God,  and  did  eat  and  drink.'  Even  a  cat 
will  not  eat  in  a  strange  house,  nor  a  bird  in  a 
strange  cage.  Eating  and  drinking  are  symbols  of 
familiarity.  We  feel  at  home.  We  bring  our  friends 
to  our  tables  that  they  may  realize  their  welcome. 
My  ugly  thought  of  God  was  a  caricature,  a  parody, 
an  insult.  Man  was  made  for  God,  and  only  finds 
his  perfect  poise  in  His  presence.  To  see  God 
is  to  eat  and  drink — to  be  perfectly,  peacefully, 
reverently,  rest  fully,  delightfully  at  home. 

'  "I  have  served  God,  and  feared  Him  with  all 
my  heart,"  says  poor  Rufus  Webb  in  Miss  Ellen 
Thorneycroft  Fowler's  Fuel  of  Fire. 

'  "That  may  be,  but  you  have  never  loved  nor 
trusted  Him !"  replied  the  minister. 

'The  dying  man  lay  silent  for  a  few  minutes,  with 
closed  eyes.  Then  he  opened  them  again,  and  said : 
"I  wonder  if  you  are  right,  and  I  have  misjudged 
Him  all  these  years  ?" 

i  pa  The  Luggage  of  Life 

'  "I  am  sure  of  it." 

'  "And  do  you  think  He  will  pardon  me  that  also, 
in  addition  to  my  many  other  sins  ?" 

'  "I  am  sure  of  it,"  repeated  the  vicar,  "although 
it  is  hard,  even  for  Him,  to  be  misjudged  by  those 
whom  He  loves;  there  are  few  things  harder." 

It  is  even  so.  I  heard  the  solemn  pathos  of  this 
philosophy  jingled  out  in  the  clatter  of  the  cups 
and  the  spoons  at  the  tea-meeting.  'A  glorious  high 
throne  is  the  place  of  our  sanctuary.'  It  is  not  re- 
pelling; it  is  restful.  He  who  sees  God  eats  and 
drinks.  The  sandwiches  naturally  follow  the  ser- 
mons. 'If  any  man  hear  My  voice  I  will  come  in  to 
him,  and  will  sup  with  him,  and  he  with  Me.' 


ONE  of  the  world's  most  intrepid  mountaineers,  Mr. 
George  D.  Abraham,  has  published  a  record  of  his 
adventures.  His  experiences  have  quite  a  startling 
significance  for  life  at  all  points.  Much  that  he  says 
is  as  bracing  as  those  stinging  breezes  that  hurled 
the  hail  in  his  face  as  he  invaded  the  snowy  solitudes 
and  carved  the  first  path  over  slippery  glaciers.  He 
reminds  us,  for  example,  that  nobody  has  yet  stood 
on  the  roof  of  the  world.  The  real  sky-piercers 
have  never  yet  been  climbed.  On  almost  every  con- 
tinent the  loftiest  summits  wrap  their  clouds  about 
them  and  stand  defiant  and  triumphant.  They  have 
never  felt  the  proud  heel  of  a  conqueror. 

It  is  good,  both  for  our  humiliation  and  for  our 
inspiration,  that  we  should  lay  that  pregnant  record 
to  heart.  In  days  when  bewildering  inventions  and 
sensational  discoveries  leap  from  our  newspapers 
with  every  plate  of  porridge,  it  is  as  well  that  we 
should  be  made  to  feel  that,  after  all,  we  have  only 
been  toying  with  trivialities.  Our  grandchildren  will 


i94  The  Luggage  of  Life 

ransack  some  old  chest  or  drawer,  and  drag  from 
its  seclusion  an  old  illustrated  paper  of,  let  us  say, 
the  year  1912.  They  will  scream  with  furious  glee 
as  they  scan  the  photographs  of  the  aeroplanes  and 
automobiles  which  so  hugely  tickled  our  own  vanity ; 
and  then,  as  they  read  the  accompanying  letter- 
press, and  feel  the  pulsations  of  our  pride,  they  will 
awaken  all  the  echoes  with  their  boisterous  shouts 
of  laughter. 

It  is  very  humiliating;  and  yet,  after  all,  surely 
it  is  powerfully  invigorating  too.  Who  does  not 
feel  that  life  holds  a  new  meaning  for  him  as  he 
reflects  that  there  are  dizzy  heights  which  have 
stood  in  naked  and  awful  silence  from  the  founda- 
tion of  the  world?  Their  desolate  grandeur  is 
waiting  for  the  pilgrim  feet  of  a  pioneer.  Who 
does  not  experience  a  thrill  as  he  remembers  that 
it  is  possible  for  us  to  break  all  the  records  of  the 
ages  and  burst  upon  the  vacancies  that  ache  for 
conquest  ? 

Mr.  Abraham  contends  that  the  first  man  to 
ascend  Mount  Everest  will  be  a  greater  benefactor 
of  his  race  than  a  successful  polar  explorer.  It 
may  be  humiliating  to  be  reminded  that  we  have 
not  discovered  everything.  But  it  would  be  simply 
crushing  if  we  were  assured  that  nothing  remained 
to  be  discovered.  The  tang  of  these  icy  winds  that 

The  Challenge  of  the  Heights  195 

sweep  down  these  untrodden  slopes  taunts  the  im- 
agination and  challenges  the  enthusiasms  of  the 
world.  All  the  greatest  heights  have  yet  to  be 
climbed.  It  is  grand !  All  the  sweetest  songs  have 
yet  to  be  sung;  all  the  noblest  poems  have  yet  to 
be  penned;  all  the  greatest  books  have  yet  to  be 
written;  all  the  finest  sermons  have  yet  to  be 
preached;  all  the  truest  lives  have  yet  to  be  lived; 
all  the  most  heroic  exploits  have  yet  to  be  achieved. 
The  whole  wide  world,  with  its  restless  millions, 
waits  to  be  conquered.  India,  China,  Africa,  South 
America,  spacious  continents,  crowded  countries, 
cannibal  islands  and  coral  reefs,  all  wait — as  the 
peaks  wait  for  the  pathfinder — for  the  beautiful 
feet  of  those  triumphant  mountaineers  whose  coming 
will  precipitate  the  conquest  of  the  ages.  The  chal- 
lenge of  the  heights  is  in  our  ears ;  it  stirs  our  blood ; 
it  fires  our  fancy.  It  is  a  day  for  girding  our 
loins  for  heroic  enterprise.  The  pinnacles  beckon 
and  the  topmost  crags  are  calling.  We  must  quit  the 
pine-clad  valleys ;  we  must  go.  The  Golden  Age  has 
still  to  be  ushered  in. 

Then,  again,  Mr.  Abraham  conclusively  demon- 
strates that,  on  the  dizzy  Alpine  tracks,  no  man 
liveth  to  himself.  He  insists  on  the  social  element 
in  mountaineering.  The  heights  must  be  scaled, 
not  by  individuals,  but  by  parties,  and  every  member 

196  The  Luggage  of  Life 

of  the  party  is  part  and  parcel  of  every  other 
member.  No  brotherhood  could  be  more  real,  more 
practical,  more  imperative.  Sometimes  the  members 
of  the  expedition  are  roped  together;  but  in  any 
case  the  tie  is  there.  In  negotiating  a  difficult  pass, 
in  clambering  up  a  perilous  face,  or  in  attempting 
a  forbidding  ascent,  it  is  the  weakest  member  of  the 
expedition  whom  all  other  members  must  consider. 
His  failure  would  be  the  failure  of  all.  The  golden 
rule  is  nowhere  so  clamant  as  among  the  crags  of 
the  summit.  Every  task  that  presents  itself  has 
to  be  faced  with  a  full  recognition  of  its  suitability 
to  the  capabilities  of  each  member  of  the  fraternity. 
The  slipping  of  the  feeblest  foot  might  easily 
jeopardize  the  lives  of  all.  That  is  for  ever  and 
for  ever  the  lesson  of  the  heights.  It  is  only  in 
life's  rarer  and  more  intense  atmospheres  that  we 
see  it  so  clearly.  The  murky  mists  of  the  valley 
often  obscure  the  fact  that  we  are,  in  deed  and  in 
truth,  members  one  of  another. 

In  his  great  chapter  on  'The  Evolution  of  Lan- 
guage,' Drummond  shows  that  a  law  like  this 
operates  in  the  animal  world.  'One  of  the  earliest 
devices  hit  upon,'  he  says,  'was  the  principle  of 
co-operation.  The  deer  formed  themselves  into 
herds,  the  monkeys  into  troops,  the  birds  into  flocks, 
the  wolves  into  packs,  the  bees  into  hives,  and  the 

The  Challenge  of  the  Heights  197 

ants  into  colonies/  And  the  brilliant  doctor  goes 
on  to  show  how  it  works  out:  'Here/  he  says,  'is 
a  herd  of  deer,  scattered,  as  they  love  to  be,  in  a 
string  a  quarter  of  a  mile  long.  Every  animal  in 
the  herd  not  only  shares  the  physical  strength  of 
all  the  rest,  but  their  powers  of  observation.' 

The  very  beasts  of  the  field  are  members  one  of 
another,  and  know  it.  But  the  finest  and  most 
graceful  illustration  of  this  social  law — the  strength 
of  the  strongest  passing  as  a  heritage  to  the  feeblest 
— occurs  in  The  Pilgrim's  Progress.  '  "Alas !"  cried 
poor  Mr.  Feeble-mind,  "I  want  a  suitable  compan- 
ion; you  are  all  so  lusty  and  strong;  but  I,  as  you 
see,  am  weak.  I  choose,  therefore,  rather  to  come 
behind,  lest  by  reason  of  my  many  infirmities  I 
should  be  both  a  burthen  to  myself  and  to  you.  I 
am,  as  I  said,  a  man  of  a  weak  and  a  feeble  mind, 
and  shall  be  offended  and  made  weak  at  that  which 
others  can  bear.  I  shall  like  no  laughing;  I  shall 
like  no  gay  attire;  I  shall  like  no  unprofitable 
questions.  Nay,  I  am  so  weak  a  man  as  to  be 
offended  with  that  which  others  have  a  liberty  to 
do.  I  do  not  yet  know  all  the  truth ;  I  am  a  very 
ignorant  Christian  man;  sometimes,  if  I  hear  some 
rejoice  in  the  Lord,  it  troubles  me  because  I  cannot 
do  so  too.  It  is  with  me  as  it  is  with  a  weak  man 
among  the  strong,  or  as  with  a  sick  man  among 

198  The  Luggage  of  Life 

the  healthy,  or  as  a  lamp  despised,  so  that  I  know 
not  what  to  do."  "But,  brother,"  said  Mr.  Great- 
heart,  "I  have  it  in  commission  to  comfort  the 
feeble-minded,  and  to  support  the  weak.  You  must 
needs  go  along  with  us ;  we  will  wait  for  you,  and 
we  will  lend  you  our  help;  we  will  deny  ourselves 
of  some  things,  both  opinionated  and  practical,  for 
your  sake;  we  will  not  enter  into  doubtful  disputa- 
tions before  you;  we  will  be  made  all  things  to 
you,  rather  than  that  you  shall  be  left  behind." 

The  Pathfinder,  the  Professor,  and  the  Puritan 
all  agree,  therefore,  in  making  it  abundantly  clear 
that  no  man  liveth  to  himself,  and  no  man  dieth 
to  himself.  'Wherefore/  says  the  most  sure-footed 
of  all  our  mountaineers,  'take  heed  to  them  that 
are  weak.  It  is  good  neither  to  eat  flesh,  nor  to 
drink  wine,  nor  anything  whereby  thy  brother 
stumbleth.'  The  echo  that  we  have  heard  comes 
to  us  from  the  Alps  and  the  Himalayas;  but  the 
voice  that  awoke  that  echo  is  from  a  greater  height. 
It  spake  from  Mount  Sinai,  from  Mount  Sion,  from 
the  eternal  altitudes.  It  is  the  voice  of  God. 

A  third  striking  thing  our  mountaineer  has  to  say. 
He  emphasizes  the  astonishing  fact  that  the  vast 
majority  of  Alpine  fatalities  occur  on  the  easy 
tracks.  The  steep  and  narrow  passes,  where  the 
brain  reels,  where  the  foothold  is  precarious,  and 

The  Challenge  of  the  Heights  199 

where  the  poise  of  the  body  is  difficult,  clamour 
loudly  for  special  care.  But  the  easy  tracks  have 
a  peril  of  their  own.  'Claudius  Clear/  in  a  sug- 
gestive article,  demonstrated  the  fact  that,  although 
we  commonly  regard  youth  as  the  essential  period 
of  moral  peril,  the  most  disastrous  collapses  have 
been  on  the  part  of  men  and  women  in  middle 
life.  We  acquire  a  certain  fatal  contempt  for 
temptation  which  is  ultimately  our  undoing.  We 
have  edged  our  way  with  trembling  caution  along 
the  most  slender  shelves,  beside  perpendicular  cliffs, 
and  above  yawning  abysses ;  and  then  we  fling  our- 
selves with  a  reckless  stride  along  the  broader 
tracks.  We  scorn  the  danger.  Are  we  not  noted 
climbers — ministers,  officers,  teachers,  saints  of  ripe 
or  mellow  maturity  ?  Thinking  that  we  stand  fast, 
we  take  no  heed  lest  we  fall.  We  become  the 
victims  of  the  easy  track  at  the  last.  It  is  cruelly 
anomalous,  but  it  is  tragically  true,  that  many  a 
man's  conscience  is  less  sensitive  as  to  the  minor 
moralities  of  life  after  twenty  years  of  Christian 
service  than  during  the  first  months  of  his  religious 
experience.  He  slips  now  where  he  stood  fast 
then.  He  has  become  too  confident  to  be  cautious, 
and  has  grown  tired  of  being  careful.  That  way 
lies  disaster. 

We  feel  very  much  obliged  to  Mr.  Abraham. 

200  The  Luggage  of  Life 

We  never  expect,  in  this  life,  to  follow  him  on  his 
vigorous  pilgrimages  towards  virgin  peaks.  We 
can  only  gaze  at  his  snowy  summits  admiringly 
and  wistfully.  But  his  adventures  read  like  al- 
legories; his  suggestions  sound  like  sermons.  The 
analogies,  however  unintentional,  are  too  arresting 
to  be  shunned;  the  parallelisms,  however  uncon- 
scious, too  striking  to  be  avoided.  We  have  fol- 
lowed this  trusty  guide  by  granite  and  glacier,  midst 
snow  and  ice,  and  have  caught  a  vision  of  more 
radiant  purity,  gleaming  on  loftier  pinnacles,  and 
bathed  in  the  golden  glory  of  a  lovelier  sunrise. 
And  those  beckoning  heights  have  challenged  us  to 
press  with  new  vigour  towards  the  triumphs  for 
which  all  the  ages  have  been  struggling,  to  reach 
out  hands  of  dearer  brotherhood  to  the  comrades 
who  share  our  pilgrimage,  and  to  exercise  a  greater 
vigilance  as  we  tread  life's  treacherous  easy  tracks. 
It  is  so  easy  to  fail  of  life's  loftiest  altitudes;  so  easy 
to  forget  the  partner  of  one's  toil  and  travel;  so 
wofully  easy  to  be  overtaken  by  desolating  calamity 
through  a  false  step  on  the  easy  track,  after  all. 
After  all! 



I  AM  writing  in  April.  The  month  moves  on  its 
way  amidst  a  wealthy  cluster  of  associations.  It 
opens  with  a  festival  of  folly.  The  Englishman 
invariably  connects  its  coming  with  welcome 
thoughts  of  the  cuckoo  and  the  crocus.  In  our 
Australian  minds  it  stands  related  to  the  rustle  of 
autumn  leaves.  It  is  the  month  of  homeward  yearn- 
ing, too,  for  all  exiles.  There  be  many  that  say,  as 
Browning  said: 

Oh  to  be  in  England 

Now  that  April's  there ! 

And  whoever  wakes  in  England 

Sees,  some  morning,  unaware, 

That  the  lowest  boughs  and  the  brushwood  sheaf 

Round  the  elm-tree  bole  are  in  tiny  leaf, 

While  the  chaffinch  sings  on  the  orchard  bough 

In  England — now. 

April  brings,  too,  more  often  than  not,  the  tender 
pathos  of  Good  Friday,  and  the  exquisite  triumph 
of  Easter.  But  there  is  one  home  to  which  these 
chastened  joys  make  no  appeal,  for  to  the  door  of 
the  Australian  Methodist  parsonage  April  brings 
only  the  furniture-van.  We  have  been  engaged  in 


202  The  Luggage  of  Life 

saying  sorrowful  farewells  to  ministerial  neigh- 
bours with  whom  we  have  worked  side  by  side 
through  pleasant  years  of  comradeship.  And  now, 
without  any  indication  that  their  work  is  finished, 
like  plants  torn  up  when  in  full  bloom,  they  must 
move  on. 

It  is  this  that  has  set  us  thinking.  Indeed,  it  has 
set  Methodism .  thinking.  The  whole  question  of 
ministerial  movement  is  beset  by  problems  that  have 
made  wiser  heads  than  ours  to  ache.  It  is  true,  on 
the  one  hand,  that  the  itinerary  system  is  being 
eyed,  not  without  envy,  by  the  statesmen  of  other 
churches.  Here,  for  example,  in  the  latest  issue  of 
The  Church  Family  Newspaper,  is  a  leading  article 
suggesting  the  adoption  by  the  Church  of  England 
of  a  modified  Methodism.  Presbyterian  assemblies 
have  long  been  discussing  it,  and  Baptists  and  Con- 
gregationalists  have  sometimes  cast  shy  but  wistful 
glances  in  the  same  direction.  And  yet — and  yet,  on 
the  other  hand,  two  things  are  clear.  The  first  is 
that  Methodism  itself  is  coming  to  regard  the  system 
as  open  to  review.  I  have  known  large  city  churches 
apply  for  registration  as  central  missions  in  order 
that  they  may  stand  outside  the  pale  of  the 
itinerary  system.  And  I  have  known  small  country 
churches  plead  that  they  might  retain  their  status 
as  home  missions  rather  than  be  dragged  into  the 

The  Furniture-Van  203 

sweep  of  the  system.  The  second  fact  is  that  every 
minister  who  has  stayed  in  one  place  long  enough 
to  marry  the  girls  and  boys  that  he  kissed  when  he 
came,  knows  that  his  most  regal  influence  came  to 
him  in  the  years  that  followed  the  fifth.  It  is  then 
that  the  best  work  is  done.  The  minister  has  won 
a  personal,  in  addition  to  a  merely  official  authority. 
His  name  is  graven  in  the  very  hearts  of  his  people, 
and  he  speaks  in  their  homes  with  the  voice  of  a 

But  let  me  hasten  to  say  that  I  am  writing  to 
challenge  no  system,  and  to  advocate  no  system. 
All  these  things  are  in  the  melting-pot;  and  the 
churches  will  be  wise  if  they  watch  each  other 
closely,  confer  with  each  other  frankly,  and  profit 
by  each  other's  sagacity  and  experience.  Yet  one 
thing  I  do  most  unhesitatingly  affirm,  and  it  is  for 
that  irresistible  affirmation  that  I  am  contending 
now.  It  is  this :  a  ministerial  removal  should  never  be 
mechanical.  It  is  a  crisis  of  the  soul — perhaps  of 
many  souls.  It  is  a  thing  to  be  undertaken  only 
after  strong  crying  and  tears.  I  like  to  recall  the 
searchings  of  heart  that  marked  a  ministerial  resig- 
nation a  century  or  so  ago.  Everybody  knows  the 
circumstances  tinder  which  poor  old  John  Fawcett 
wrote  'Blest  be  the  tie  that  binds.'  And,  at  about 
the  same  time,  Andrew  Fuller  spent  two  years  in 

204  The  Luggage  of  Life 

most  terrible  anguish  of  soul  whilst  he  tried  to  de- 
termine whether  or  not  it  was  his  duty  to  leave  his 
little  flock  at  Soham.  'It  seems  as  if  the  church 
and  I  should  break  each  other's  hearts/  he  wrote. 
'I  think,  after  all,  if  I  go  from  them,  it  must  be 
in  my  coffin.'  His  agony  of  mind  led  Dr.  Ryland 
to  remark  that  'men  who  fear  not  God  would  risk 
an  empire  with  fewer  searchings  of  heart  than  it 
cost  Andrew  Fuller  to  leave  a  little  church,  hardly 
containing  forty  members  besides  himself  and  his 

And,  indeed,  there  is  no  need  to  limit  the  scope 
of  this  chapter  to  manses  and  parsonages.  The  same 
principle  holds  good  of  every  removal.  The  ten- 
dency of  young  nations  is  to  regard  the  furniture- 
van  flippantly.  A  century  ago,  the  removal  of  an 
English  family  from  one  village  to  another  was 
regarded  as  a  social  tragedy  through  all  the  country- 
side. A  man  worked  for  his  master  because  his 
father  had  worked  for  his  master's  father,  and  his 
grandfather  for  his  master's  grandfather.  And  it 
never  occurred  to  him  that  some  social  cataclysm 
might  prevent  his  grandchildren  from  serving  his 
master's  grandchildren.  All  that  has  changed. 
That  day  is  as  dead  as  the  moa  and  the  dodo.  The 
temper  of  the  time  has  altered.  We  hail  a  furniture- 
van  nowadays  with  almost  as  light  a  heart  as  we  hail 

The  Furniture-Van  205 

a  hansom  cab.  In  his  Gamekeeper  at  Home  Richard 
Jefferies,  the  naturalist,  maintains  that  this  very  fact 
has  had  a  good  deal  to  do  with  the  sharp  accentua- 
tion of  our  industrial  troubles.  The  old  intimate 
and  almost  sacred  relationship  between  employer 
and  employe,  fortified  by  associations  sanctified  by 
several  generations,  has  broken  down;  and  its  col- 
lapse has  paved  the  way  for  all  our  modern  embroil- 
ments and  agitations. 

Yes,  there  is  no  doubt  about  it,  we  overwork  the 
furniture-van.  Its  axles  are  too  hot.  Old  Daniel 
Quorm  comes  to  mind.  'I  do  often  see  it,  friends !' 
said  Dan'l,  'I've  watched  it  for  years.  Here's  a 
young  fellow  doin'  good  in  the  Sunday  school  and 
other  ways,  promising  to  be  a  useful  man  when  we 
old  folks  are  gone  home.  But  somebody  sends  down 
word  that  he  can  make  half  a  crown  a  week  more 
wages  in  London.  That's  enough.  No  prayer  about 
it ;  no  askin'  the  Lord  what  He  do  see.  No  thinkin' 
about  the  Lord's  work.  "I  must  get  on,"  he  says, 
and  he  says  it  so  pious  as  if  it  was  one  o*  the  ten 
commandments — but  'tisn't,  friends,  'tisn't,  'though 
you  do  hear  it  so  often !' 

Over  against  Daniel  Quorm  let  us  set  Dr.  Alex- 
ander Whyte.  In  his  lecture  on  'Treasure  Hid  in 
the  Field'  the  doctor  touches  on  this  very  matter, 
and  tells  of  a  lovely  experience.  'An  old  office- 

206  The  Luggage  of  Life 

bearer  of  this  very  congregation,'  he  says,  'told  me, 
long  ago,  how  he  had  lately  summoned  a  conference 
of  his  whole  household  in  order  to  make  a  great 
family  choice  and  decision.  He  put  it  to  his  wife, 
and  to  his  sons,  and  to  his  daughters,  whether  he 
would  build  a  house  for  them  away  out  of  Edin- 
burgh, with  a  park  and  a  garden  and  stables,  or 
whether  he  would  buy  a  house  in  the  city  so  as 
still  to  be  near  this  church,  and  so  as  to  let  his  family 
continue  to  sit  under  Dr.  Candlish's  ministry.  And 
the  eyes  of  that  old  elder  glistened  with  joy  when  he 
told  me  that  he  had  determined  on  a  house  within 
reach  of  the  pulpit  to  which  he  owed  his  own  soul 
and  the  souls  of  his  children.  His  wife  had  been  in 
Dr.  Candlish's  ladies'  class.  Things  like  that  do  not 
happen  every  day.' 

Dr.  Whyte  is  right.  They  do  not.  We  are  too 
fond  of  the  furniture-van.  We  ought  to  regard  it  in 
the  same  category  as  the  world  and  the  flesh  and  the 
devil.  The  number  of  transfers  granted  to  members 
leaving  one  church  for  another  would  make  our 
grandsires  turn  in  their  graves,  whilst  the  multitude 
of  those  who  are  entered  as  having  'moved  away,' 
one  church's  loss  being  no  other  church's  gain,  is 
appalling.  They  have  moved  away,  that  is  all.  The 
furniture-van  has  done  its  deadly  work.  Father, 
mother,  lads  and  lasses  have  moved  away  from 

The  Furniture-Van  207 

church  and  Sunday  school,  from  societies  and 
classes,  from  useful  services  and  helpful  charities 
and  happy  ministries ;  they  have  moved  away — to 
what?  Church  secretaries  might  often  mournfully 
and  truthfully  enter  in  the  'Remarks'  column  of  the 
church-roll  the  'Lay  of  the  Lost  Leader' : 

Just  for  a  handful  of  silver  he  left  us, 
Just  for  a  riband  to  stick  in  his  coat! 

Nobody,  of  course,  is  so  dreamy  and  unpractical 
as  to  suggest  that  church  connexions  should  never 
be  ruptured  in  order  to  secure  commercial  promotion 
or  industrial  preferment.  That  is  not  the  point. 
The  iniquity  is  with  those  who  order  the  furniture- 
van  before  such  considerations  have  been  duly 
weighed.  If  a  man  sees  the  beckoning  hand,  he 
must  go  on ;  and,  so  long  as  he  is  clear  that  his  move 
is  a  move  nearer  to  the  realization  of  life's  ultimate 
purpose,  the  furniture-van  may  be  as  idyllic  a  vehicle 
for  him  as  a  chariot  and  horses  of  fire. 

But  there  is  a  'moving  away'  that  is  worse  still. 
Paul  assures  the  Christians  at  Colossae  that  their 
Lord  shall  present  them  holy  and  unblamable  and 
unreprovable  if  they  be  not  moved  away  from,  the 
hope  of  the  gospel.  That  is  sorrow's  crown  of 
sorrow — life's  culminating  climax  of  tragedy — to 
be  moved  away  from  the  hope  of  the  gospel.  Wher- 

2o8  The  Luggage  of  Life 

ever  the  furniture-van  may  take  our  chairs  and 
tables,  our  hearts  must  always  abide  in  the  same 
place.  In  an  age  of  shifting  and  of  drifting  we  must 
make  it  the  loftiest  science  of  life  to  dwell  in  the 
secret  place  of  the  Most  High  and  to  abide  under 
the  shadow  of  the  Almighty.  In  the  immutable 
Rock  of  Ages  the  soul  must  wisely  build  her  nest. 
'Be  not  moved  away' !  Surely,  if  church  secretaries 
are  sometimes  tempted  to  inscribe  the  'Lay  of  the 
Lost  Leader*  against  certain  names  on  the  mem- 
bership roll,  it  is  pardonable  to  fancy  the  very 
angels,  from  their  higher  knowledge,  writing  sadly 
against  other  names,  'Moved  away — moved  away 
from  the  hope  of  the  gospel/  It  is  the  Dirge  of  a 
Lost  Soul! 

Mr.  Young,  of  Jedburgh,  used  to  tell  a  story  of 
old  Janet,  who,  in  her  lonely  hut  on  the  Scottish 
moor,  was  dying  at  last.  She  breathed  heavily  and 
painfully.  Her  brown  old  Bible  lay  open  on  the 
counterpane.  The  minister  came  just  in  time.  'And 
hoo  is't  wi'  ye  the  noo,  Janet  ?'  he  inquired,  bending 
over  her  wrinkled  countenance.  Her  face  was 
radiant.  'It's  a'  weel,  it's  bonnie/  she  cried;  'but, 
mon,  I'm  a  wee  confused  wi'  the  flittin' !'  Happy 
are  all  they  who,  in  that  last  solemn  removal,  know 
no  more  poignant  anguish  than  the  mere  flutter  and 
flurry  of  the  process ! 



MARK  TWAIN  more  than  once  makes  merry  at  the 
lugubrious  and  fantastic  conception  of  a  man 
mourning  at  his  own  funeral.  In  these  passages 
the  genial  humorist  is  not  at  his  best.  He  misses 
the  true  inwardness  of  things.  There  is  nothing  in 
actual  experience  more  common  and  nothing  more 
pathetic  than  for  a  man  to  occupy  the  position  of 
chief  mourner  at  his  own  burial.  We  have  often 
read  the  touching  records  of  missionaries  on  the 
islands,  who  are  compelled  to  act  as  grave-diggers 
and  chaplains  at  the  funerals  of  their  own  wives  and 
children.  And  quite  recently  we  heard  of  a  stricken 
and  lonely  woman,  in  an  ocean  solitude,  who  was 
called  to  nerve  herself  to  perform  the  same  melan- 
choly offices  at  the  burial  of  her  husband.  But  life 
holds  an  even  deeper  pathos.  It  is  the  tragic  experi- 
ence of  every  man  who  rightly  reads  the  riddle  of 
life  to  preside,  perhaps  more  than  once,  at  his  own 
obsequies.  He  looks  tearfully  down  upon  the  plate 


2io  The  Luggage  of  Life 

upon  which  his  own  name  and  age  are  inscribed,  and 
says,  deliberately  and  bravely,  'Ashes  to  ashes,  dust 
to  dust.'  Lord  Dufferin  has  told  us  that  he  owes 
his  very  life  to  a  vivid  dream  in  the  course  of 
which  he  seemed  to  be  a  mourner  at  his  own  funeral. 
Many  a  man  owes  far  more  than  life  itself  not  to 
a  mere  dream,  but  to  the  actual  experience. 

The  process  occurs,  for  instance,  in  the  choice  of 
a  profession.  Here  and  there  a  man  feels  that  he 
must  follow  a  certain  line,  and  that  no  other  is  even 
thinkable.  But  with  most  men  the  trail  is  not  so 
clearly  blazed.  A  man  decides  to  be  a  builder,  but 
he  feels  that  he  would  have  made  a  very  respectable 
banker.  Or  he  resolves  on  being  a  minister,  but 
he  feels  at  the  same  time  that  he  could  easily  have 
distinguished  himself  as  a  barrister.  In  such  cases, 
if  he  be  wise,  the  builder  will  straightway  bury 
the  banker  that  is  in  him,  and  the  minister  will 
pronounce  the  solemn  words  of  committal  over  the 
grave  of  the  barrister.  The  builder  who  is  per- 
petually hankering  after  a  teller's  desk  will  never 
build  anything  better  than  huts  or  hovels — even  for 
himself.  And  the  minister  who  is  for  ever  casting 
envious  eyes  at  a  barrister's  chambers  will  never 
catch  the  rapture  that  Christ's  true  ministers  may 

That  is  a  great  story  which  Professor  Herkless 

On  Conducting  One's  own  Funeral       211 

tells  us  in  his  Life  of  Francis  d'Assisi.  On  the 
one  hand  Francis  longed  to  be  a  friar  and  to 
dedicate  himself  to  poverty  and  pilgrimage.  On 
the  other  hand  he  loved  a  sweet  and  noble  and 
gracious  woman.  He  wrestled  with  his  alternatives, 
and  at  length,  through  an  agony  of  tears,  he  chose 
the  cloak  and  the  cowl.  But  still  the  lovely  face 
haunted  him  by  cloister  and  by  shrine.  And  one 
radiant  moonlit  night,  when  the  earth  was  wrapped 
in  snow,  the  brethren  of  the  monastery  saw  him 
rise  at  dead  of  night.  He  went  out  into  the  grounds, 
and,  in  the  silvery  moonlight,  fashioned,  out  of  the 
snow,  images  of  wife  and  children  and  servants. 
He  arranged  them  in  a  circle,  and  sat  with  them, 
and,  giving  rein  to  his  fancy,  tasted  for  one  delicious 
hour  the  ecstasies  of  hearth  and  home,  the  joys 
of  life  and  love.  Then,  solemnly  rising,  he  kissed 
them  all  a  tearful  and  a  final  farewell,  renounced 
such  raptures  for  ever,  and  re-entered  the  convent. 
That  night  Francis  the  friar  buried  himself.  He 
read  his  own  funeral  service.  He  had  made  his 
choice;  and,  in  order  that  his  life  might  not  be 
clogged  by  the  haunting  images  of  dead  possibilities, 
the  man  who  had  decided  to  be  a  friar  buried 
everything  except  the  friar.  Indeed,  the  Roman 
Church  draws  the  most  impressive  symbolism  of 
its  dedication  from  this  source.  Lamartine  tells  us 

212  The  Luggage  of  Life 

of  Madame  Roland's  visit  to  a  French  convent. 
'A  novice  took  the  veil  during  her  residence  there. 
Her  presentation  at  the  entrance,  her  white  veil, 
her  crown  of  roses,  the  sweet  and  soothing  hymns 
which  directed  her  from  earth  to  heaven,  the  mortu- 
ary cloth  cast  over  her  youthful  and  buried  beauty 
and  over  her  palpitating  heart,  made  Madame 
Roland  shudder  and  overwhelmed  her  with  tears.' 

But  there  is  no  need  to  go  beyond  the  pale 
of  Protestantism  for  our  illustrations.  The  case 
of  F.  W.  Robertson  of  Brighton  is  very  much  to 
the  point.  The  love  of  arms  ran  in  his  very  blood. 
His  grandfather,  his  father,  and  his  brothers  were 
all  soldiers.  He  himself  had  counted  the  slow  years 
that  must  drag  by  before  he  could  wear  the  Queen's 
uniform.  But  at  last  the  time  came,  and  he  found 
himself,  to  his  intense  delight,  appointed  to  the 
Third  Dragoon  Guards,  and  almost  simultaneously 
there  came  the  call  to  the  ministry.  Then  the 
struggle  in  the  dark,  and,  finally,  the  great  decision. 
Robertson  stripped  off  the  brilliant  uniform,  laid 
aside  his  sword,  entered  the  ministry,  and  from 
that  time  forth  never  looked  back.  The  first 
service  he  conducted,  he  conducted  all  alone.  It 
was  the  burial  of  the  soldier  in  him.  And,  before 
burying  him,  he  stripped  from  the  soldier  all  his 
military  virtues — endurance,  discipline,  courage — 

and  transferred  them  to  the  equipment  of  the  min- 

If  our  years  were  allotted  to  us  in  the  generous 
fashion  which  some  of  the  patriarchs  seem  to  have 
enjoyed,  a  man  might  find  some  opportunity  for 
trying  his  hand  at  more  avocations  than  one.  As 
it  is,  however,  the  time  is  short.  At  seventy  a  man 
only  begins  to  feel  that  he  knows  his  work.  There  is 
no  time  for  tinkering  with  many  things  or  for 
trifling  with  one.  The  very  brevity  of  life  clamours 
for  concentration  and  economy.  We  have  all  read 
the  affecting  and  informing  and  heart-searching 
correspondence  of  Dr.  Marcus  Dods.  No  man 
sounded  the  very  depths  of  life's  innermost  experi- 
ences more  terribly  than  did  he.  He  felt  called  to 
be  a  minister.  He  buried  every  other  inclination 
and  possibility.  Then  came  years  of  neglect  and 
rejection.  No  congregation  would  call  him.  But, 
with  a  courage  never  excelled  on  a  battle-field,  he 
held  on.  He  looked  wistfully  at  the  graves  in  which 
he  had  buried  his  earlier  fancies.  But  he  would 
allow  no  resurrection.  And  at  last  came  recognition 
and  reward.  And  out  of  that  agonizing  experience 
he  wrote  on  the  economy  of  life,  and  he  deserves  to 
be  listened  to  with  bated  breath.  'Every  man,'  the 
doctor  says,  'as  he  grows  into  life,  finds  he  must 
employ  such  an  economy  on  his  own  account.  He 

The  Luggage  of  Life 

is  pressed  to  occupy  positions  or  to  engage  in  work 
which  will  prevent  him  from  achieving  the  purpose 
for  which  nature  has  fitted  him.  He  is  offered  pro- 
motion which  seems  attractive  and  has  its  advan- 
tages ;  but  he  declines  it,  because  it  would  divert  him 
from  his  chosen  aim.  Continually  men  spoil  their 
life  by  want  of  concentration.  They  are  greatly 
tempted  to  do  so,  for  the  public  foolishly  concludes 
that,  because  a  man  does  one  thing  well,  he  can  do 
everything  well;  and  he  who  has  written  a  good 
history  is  straightway  asked  to  sit  in  Parliament,  or 
the  man  whose  scholarship  and  piety  have  been  con- 
spicuous is  offered  preferment  which  calls  for  the 
exercise  of  wholly  different  qualities.' 

The  theme  might,  of  course,  be  amplified  infinitely. 
It  is  the  central  thought  of  the  gospel.  There  are 
times  when  men  sigh,  with  the  speaker  in  Tenny- 
son's Maud : 

Ah,  for  a  man  to  arise  in  me, 
That  the  man  I  am  may  cease  to  be ! 

And  Jesus  meets  such  men  on  their  own  ground. 
He  offers  a  new  life.  'Ye  must  be  born  again' !  He 
says.  And  the  birth  within  me  of  the  man  He 
means  me  to  be  necessarily  implies  the  burial  within 
me  of  the  man  I  have  actually  been.  The  vocabu- 
lary of  the  death-bed  and  the  grave-side  was  con- 
stantly on  the  lips  of  Paul.  Again  and  again  he  told 

On  Conducting  One's  own  Funeral       215 

the  Christians  of  Europe  and  of  Asia  the  story  of 
his  own  death  and  burial.  Almost  all  his  auto- 
biographical references  are  obituary  notices.  He 
had  been  crucified  with  Christ,  he  would  say,  and 
he  implored  his  hearers  to  reckon  themselves  as 
dead  and  buried  too. 

Yes,  it  is  good  for  the  builder  to  bury  the  banker 
that  he  might  have  been.  It  is  good  for  Paul  to  bury 
the  Saul  that  he  had  been.  But  there  is  one  man 
within  us,  whom  we  are  most  strongly  tempted  to 
bury,  to  whose  funeral  we  must  never,  never  go.  He 
is  the  man  of  our  ideal ;  the  man  of  our  prayers ; 
the  man  we  fain  would  be.  There  are  no  sadder 
lines  in  English  poetry  than  those  of  William  Wat- 

So  on  our  souls  the  visions  rise 
Of  that  fair  life  we  never  led: 

They  flash  a  splendour  past  our  eyes, 
We  start,  and  they  are  fled; 

They  pass  and  leave  us  with  blank  gaze, 

Resigned  to  our  ignoble  days. 

We  catch  the  fair  vision  of  glorious  possibilities ; 
but  we  shake  our  heads,  like  the  rich  young  ruler, 
and  turn  away  sorrowful.  Oh  the  pity  of  it! 
'Resigned  to  our  ignoble  days' !  The  old  world  is 
very  weary  with  weeping  over  her  troubles  and 
her  tragedies;  but  she  has  never  known  anything 
more  inexpressibly  mournful  than  that. 


MARRIAGE  is  simply  an  obvious  and  outstanding 
illustration  of  one  of  life's  cardinal  laws.  The 
world  is  made  up  of  pairs,  and,  like  the  sexes,  those 
pairs  are  supplementary  and  complementary.  I 
have  two  eyes.  They  are  not  in  rivalry;  each  has 
its  function.  It  is  difficult  for  my  right  eye  to  dis- 
cern the  danger  that  approaches  from  the  opposite 
direction.  My  left  eye,  therefore,  stands  sentinel 
on  that  side  of  my  face.  Each  member  of  my  body 
holds  in  charge  powers  that  it  is  under  obligation  to 
exercise  for  the  good  of  all  its  fellow  members. 
The  world  is  built  on  that  plan.  Examine,  for  proof 
of  it,  the  list  of  exports  and  imports  of  any  nation 
under  the  sun.  As  Cowper  sings : 

Wise  to  promote  whatever  end  He  means, 
God  opens  fruitful  Nature's  various  scenes ; ; 
Each  climate  needs  what  other  climes  produce, 
And  offers  something  to  the  general  use ; 
No  land  but  listens  to  the  common  call, 
And  in  return  receives  supplies  from  all. 

Our  Better  Halves  217 

In  our  silly  habit  of  teaching  half-truths,  we  tell 
our  children  that  Australia  belongs  to  Britain,  that 
Algeria  belongs  to  France,  and  that  Java  belongs  to 
Holland.  If  we  told  them  the  whole  truth  they 
would  learn  that  Britain  belongs  to  Germany,  and 
that  France  belongs  to  China,  and  that  America  be- 
longs to  Japan,  and  that  every  nation  is  an  essential 
and  complementary  part  of  every  other  nation. 
And  if  we  taught  them  the  whole  truth  after  that 
liberal  fashion,  they  would  grow  up  to  beat  their 
swords  into  ploughshares  and  their  spears  into 

In  precisely  the  same  way  every  man  holds  in 
sacred  charge  certain  gifts  and  graces  which  he  is 
under  solemn  obligation  to  use  for  the  general  good. 
My  next-door  neighbour  is  my  better  half;  I  cannot 
do  without  him. 

He  is  rich  where  I  am  poor, 

And  he  supplies  my  wants  the  more 

As  his  unlikeness  fitteth  me. 

The  best  possible  illustration  is,  of  course,  Com- 
mander Verney  L.  Cameron's  story  of  the  two 
lepers  he  met  in  Central  Africa.  One  had  lost  his 
hands,  the  other  his  feet.  They  established  a  farm 
together.  The  leper  who  had  no  hands,  and  who 
could  not  therefore  scatter  seed,  carried  his  legless 
brother,  who  could  not  else  have  stirred,  upon  his 

2 1 8  The  Luggage  of  Life 

back;  and  thus,  each  supplying  the  other's  lack, 
they  broke  their  ground,  and  sowed  their  seed,  and 
reaped  their  crop. 

Or  go  to  Scotland.  Everybody  who  has  read  that 
wealthiest  of  all  northern  biographies  will  remem- 
ber the  storm  scene  on  the  Highland  loch.  Dr. 
Norman  Macleod  was  in  a  small  boat  with  a  boat- 
man, some  ladies,  and  'a.  well-known  ministerial 
brother,  who  was  as  conspicuous  for  his  weak  and 
puny  appearance  as  Dr.  Macleod  was  for  his 
gigantic  size  and  strength/  A  fearful  gale  arose. 
The  waves  tossed  the  boat  sky-high  in  their  furious 
sport.  The  smaller  of  the  two  ministers  was 
frightened  out  of  his  wits.  He  suggested  that  Dr. 
Macleod  should  pray  for  deliverance.  The  ladies 
eagerly  seconded  the  devout  proposal.  But  the 
breathless  old  boatman  would  have  none  of  it.  He 
instantly  vetoed  the  scheme.  'Na,  na !'  he  cried ;  'let 
the  wee  mannie  pray,  but  the  big  one  maun  tak'  an 
oar  if  ye  dinna  a'  want  to  be  drooned !'  The  shrewd 
old  Highlander  was  simply  stating,  in  a  crude  way 
of  his  own,  life's  great  supplementary  law.  Let  us 
admire  this  principle  of  the  big  minister  and  the 
small  minister,  of  the  armless  leper  and  the  legless 
leper,  each  in  his  proper  place,  as  it  reveals  itself  in 
other  fields.  Every  great  movement  furnishes  evi- 
dence of  the  effective  operation  of  this  law. 

Our  Better  Halves 

Those  who  have  studied  carefully  the  story  of  the 
Reformation  know  how  the  powers  of  Luther  and 
Melanchthon  dovetailed  into  each  other,  and  how 
beautifully  each  supplemented  each.  Differing  from 
each  other  as  widely  as  the  poles,  each  seemed  to 
supply  precisely  what  the  other  lacked ;  and  neither 
was  quite  sure  of  the  wisdom  of  his  own  proposal 
until  the  sanction  of  the  other  had  been  obtained. 

Macaulay  has  told  us,  concerning  Charles  Fox 
and  Sir  James  Macintosh,  that  when  Fox  went  to 
the  desk  and  wrote,  and  Macintosh  took  to  the  plat- 
form and  spoke,  the  cause  they  espoused  seemed 
pitifully  impotent;  but  when  Macintosh  seized  the 
pen,  and  Fox  mounted  the  platform,  they  were 
simply  irresistible.  They  brought  the  whole  coun- 
try to  their  feet.  Which,  of  course,  is  the  story  of 
the  big  minister  and  the  wee  minister  over  again. 
The  gifts  of  each  exactly  supplemented  those  of  the 
other.  Each  was  the  other's  better  half.  And  has 
not  Lord  Morley  made  us  familiar  with  the  fine 
record  of  Cobden  and  of  Bright?  'They  were,'  he 
says,  'the  complements  of  each  other.  Their  gifts 
differed,  so  that  one  exactly  covered  the  ground 
which  the  other  was  predisposed  to  leave  compara- 
tively untouched.' 

The  story  of  the  grey  friars  and  the  black  friars 
is  another  case  in  point  The  followers  of  Francis 

220  The  Luggage  of  Life 

exactly  supplemented  those  of  Dominic,  and  each 
order  overtook  the  work  which  the  other  left  un- 
done. History  teems  with  similar  examples.  The 
law  of  the  better  half  is  as  wide  in  the  sweep  of  its 
operations  as  the  law  of  gravitation. 

What  ecclesiastical  jealousies  and  theological 
bitternesses  and  ministerial  heart-burnings  would 
have  been  saved  if  even  the  best  and  saintliest  of 
men  had  been  swift  to  recognize  the  operation  of 
this  gracious  principle!  To  say  nothing  of  such 
shameful  controversies  as  those  between  Calvinists 
and  Lutherans,  let  us  take  as  our  example,  a  wordy 
conflict  of  but  two  centuries  ago.  We  ministers 
read  John  Wesley's  Journal  and  William  Law's 
Serious  Call  on  Saturday  nights;  and  contact  with 
such  flaming  enthusiasms  makes  our  own  hearts  to 
burn  within  us  as  the  great  day  of  the  week  ap- 
proaches. What  piety,  what  passion,  what  prayer- 
fulness  we  discover!  All  the  chills  of  the  week  melt 
from  our  spirits  as  our  souls  warm  themselves  be- 
fore these  blazing  fires !  But  we  blush  for  our  own 
revered  spiritual  masters  when  we  recall  the  way  in 
which  these  giants  of  the  devout  life  treated  each 
other.  And,  now  that  all  the  dust  has  settled,  what 
is  the  truth?  The  simple  fact  is  that  Wesley  was 
the  very  greatest  preacher  of  his  age,  and  Law  was 
the  very  greatest  religious  writer. 

Our  Better  Halves  221 

'We  see,  now/  says  a  great  writer,  'that  William 
Law  without  John  Wesley,  as  well  as  John  Wesley 
without  William  Law,  would  have  left  the  religious 
life  and  literature  of  the  eighteenth  century  both 
weak,  one-sided,  and  unsafe.  Could  they  both  have 
seen  it,  both  were,  indispensable — John  Wesley  to 
complete  William  Law,  and  William  Law  to  com- 
plete John  Wesley/  Just  so.  Could  they  both  have 
seen  it !  But  the  tragedy  of  it  all  is  that  they  could 
not  see  it,  and  did  not  see  it.  We  shall  be  wise  men 
if,  in  sitting  at  their  feet,  we  profit  by  the  very 
blindness  of  our  teachers.  Each,  had  he  only  known 
it,  was  the  other's  better  half. 

There  come  to  most  of  us  weak  or  wicked  mo- 
ments, when  we  are  apt  to  regard  our  more  brilliant 
brethren  as  our  enemies.  We  forget  that  we  are 
members  one  of  another,  and  that  we  need  each 
other.  What  a  story  for  tears  is  that  which  Dr. 
Alexander  Whyte  has  told  us  of  Thomas  Shepard ! 
It  is  a  tale  to  be  read  on  our  knees.  Thomas  Shep- 
ard, as  we  all  know,  was  an  English  Puritan,  a 
Pilgrim  Father,  and  the  Founder  of  Harvard.  But 
we  did  not  all  know  that  Thomas  Shepard  was  a 
poor  wretch  of  like  passions  with  ourselves.  He 
had,  it  seems,  a  brilliant  ministerial  neighbour.  And 
his  neighbour's  sermons  were  printed  on  Saturdays 
in  the  New  England  Gazette.  So,  for  that  matter, 

222  The  Luggage  of  Life 

were  Shepard's.  But  his  neighbour's  sermons  read 
well,  and  were  popular.  Shepard's  read  but  in- 
differently, and  were  despised.  And  on  one  memor- 
able Saturday  a  particularly  brilliant  and  clever 
sermon  appeared  in  the  Gazette.  Everybody  read 
it,  everybody  talked  of  it,  everybody  praised  it.  And 
the  praise  of  his  neighbour  was  like  fire  in  the  bones 
and  like  gravel  in  the  teeth  of  poor  Thomas  Shep- 
ard.  It  was  gall  and  wormwood  to  his  very  soul. 
That  Saturday  the  spirit  of  the  old  Puritan  passed 
through  the  Garden  of  Gethsemane.  When  mid- 
night came  it  found  him  still  prostrate  before  God 
on  the  floor  of  his  study.  His  whole  frame  was 
convulsed  in  an  agony  of  sweat  and  tears,  whilst  his 
brilliant  neighbour's  clever  sermon  was  still  crushed 
and  crumpled  between  his  clasped  hands.  He 
wrestled,  like  Jacob,  until  the  breaking  of  the  day. 
He  prayed  until  he  had  torn  all  bitterness  and 
jealousy  and  hatred  and  ill-will  out  of  his  heart. 
And  then,  with  calm  and  upturned  face,  he  craved 
a  blessing  on  his  neighbour  and  on  his  neighbour's 
clever  sermon.  Thomas  Shepard  came  to  see  that 
he  and  his  neighbour  belonged  to  each  other.  He 
was  his  neighbour's  better  half.  Time  has  taken 
good  care  to  vindicate  Shepard.  He  is  the  friend 
of  all  of  us,  whilst  we  do  not  even  know  his  neigh- 
bour's name.  What  Saturday  nights,  I  say  again, 

Our  Better  Halves  223 

we  ministers  have  with  Wesley  and  with  Law! 
How  our  hearts  burn  within  us  in  their  excellent 
company!  But  what  still  more  glorious  Saturday 
nights  we  might  have  had  if  only  John  Wesley  or 
William  Law — or,  better  still,  both  of  them — had 
spent  one  Saturday  night  after  the  pattern  of 
Thomas  Shepard's  never-to-be-forgotten  Saturday 
night  in  New  England!  If  only  they,  and  all  like 
them,  had  wrestled  with  their  bitterness  until  the 
breaking  of  the  day!  The  daybreak  would  have 
revealed  to  each  the  noble  face  of  a  brother  beloved. 
For  we  are  members  one  of  another. 


I  HAVE  just  been  over  the  Fram.  Captain  Amund- 
sen, with  his  lieutenants,  Messrs.  Hassel  and  Wist- 
ing — both  of  whom  accompanied  their  chief  to  the 
Pole — were  as  courteous  and  attentive  as  mortals 
could  possibly  be.  They  showed  us  all  that  there  was 
to  be  seen,  told  us  all  that  there  was  to  be  told,  and 
assisted  us  in  snapping  everything  that  tempted  our 
cameras.  Nothing  could  have  been  more  beautiful 
than  the  grace  and  modesty  with  which  they  were 
receiving,  in  the  form  of  a  perfect  stream  of  con- 
gratulatory cablegrams,  the  plaudits  of  the  world. 
It  was  good  to  walk  the  decks  of  the  sturdy  little 
vessel  that  holds  the  extraordinary  record  of  having 
penetrated  to  the  farthest  north  with  Nansen  and  to 
the  farthest  south  with  Amundsen.  We  raise  our 
hats  to  the  heroic  achievements  of  these  hardy 
Norsemen.  What  memories  rush  to  mind!  What 
tales  of  dauntless  courage  and  dogged  endurance ! 
Our  thoughts  quit  all  their  ordinary  grooves  and 

The  Conquest  of  the  Poles  225 

plunge  into  fresh  realms.  We  seem  to  leave  the 
solar  system  far  behind  us,  and  to  invade  a  new 
universe  as  we  lean  against  these  beaten  bulwarks 
and  give  ourselves  to  retrospection.  And  here,  at 
least,  there  are  no  more  worlds  to  conquer.  Here, 
at  any  rate,  progress  has  reached  finality.  There 
are  no  more  poles !  None !  It  is  so  very  rarely  that 
we  can  cry  Ne  plus  ultra!  that  we  must  enjoy  the 
sensation  when  we  can.  Peary  and  Amundsen 
hold  a  distinct  monopoly.  They  are  entitled  to 
make  the  most  of  it.  The  magnificent  achievement 
of  Captain  Amundsen  has  set  us  all  thinking  of 
Arctic  and  Antarctic  exploits.  We  have  been  trans- 
ported in  fancy  to  those  lofty  and  jagged  ranges 
of  mountainous  ice  that  have  been  the  despair  of 
adventurers  since  exploration  began.  We  have 
shivered  in  imagination  as  we  have  caught  glimpses 
of  innumerable  ice-floes  and  of  stretching  plains  of 
frozen  snow.  Of  Captain  Amundsen's  success  in 
the  south  we  know  only  the  bare  fact.  His  book, 
with  graphic  detail  and  description,  is  a  treat  with 
which  the  future  tantalizes  us. 

But  Amundsen  has  reminded  us  of  Peary,  and 
we  have  picked  up  the  Commander's  book  once 
more.  He  tells  a  great  tale.  It  is  good  to  see  that 
the  world  cannot  withhold  its  sounding  applause 
from  the  man  who  knows  exactly  where  he  wants 

226  The  Luggage  of  Life 

to  go,  and  who  never  dreams  of  resting  till  he 
gets  there.  Peary's  book  is  a  classic  of  excellent 
leadership.  Nansen  told  us  long  ago  that  the 
obstacles  that  intervened  between  civilization  and 
the  Pole,  terrific  as  they  were,  were  too  frail  for 
the  dogged  and  indomitable  determination  of  Peary. 
That  prediction  has  been  magnificently  vindicated. 
Commander  Peary  has  taught  us  that  the  really 
successful  man  is  the  man  who  knows  how  to  keep 
on  failing.  Failure  is  life's  high  art.  He  who 
knows  how  to  fail  well  will  sweep  everything  before 
him.  Peary  kept  on  failing  till  the  silver  crept  into 
his  hair;  and  then,  when  well  over  fifty  years  of 
age,  on  stepping-stones  of  his  dead  self,  he  climbed 
to  higher  things.  Through  what  Disraeli  would 
have  called  'the  hell  of  failure/  he  entered  the 
heaven  of  his  triumph. 

It  is  ever  so.  The  kingdom  of  heaven  suffereth 
violence,  and  the  persistent  take  it  by  storm.  The 
conqueror  is,  as  Wellington  said,  the  man  who  never 
knows  when  he  is  beaten.  The  dust  of  defeat  stings 
the  face  of  the  victor  at  every  step  of  his  onward 
march.  'The  arms  of  the  Republic/  writes  Gibbon, 
'often  defeated  in  battle,  were  always  successful  in 
war.'  'As  for  Gad/  exclaimed  the  dying  Jacob, 
'a  troop  shall  overcome  him,  but  he  shall  overcome 
at  the  last/  The  Cross  is  the  last  word  in  the  grim 

The  Conquest  of  the  Poles  227 

record  of  the  world's  most  ghastly  failures;  it  is  at 
the  same  time  the  emblem  of  a  victory  which  shall 
shame  our  most  radiant  dreams.  Those  whose  ears 
have  never  heard  a  paean,  and  whose  brows  have 
never  felt  the  laurel,  should  ponder  well  this  great 
romance  of  Arctic  exploration.  When  God  writes 
Success  on  any  man's  life  He  often  begins  to  spell 
it  with  an  '£.' 

Commander  Peary  tabulates  his  difficulties. 
Speaking  generally,  these  coincided  with  Amund- 
sen's, and  they  were  three :  ( i )  there  was  the  diffi- 
culty, sometimes  almost  insuperable,  of  conveying 
heavy  baggage  over  steep,  ragged,  slippery  moun- 
tains of  ice;  (2)  there  was  the  difficulty  presented 
by  the  piercing,  penetrating,  paralysing  cold;  (3) 
and  there  was  the  difficulty  of  the  dense,  depressing 
darkness — the  long  polar  night.  In  relation  to  the 
first  of  these,  however,  we  must  confess  that  the 
thought  that  has  haunted  us,  as  we  have  followed 
our  intrepid  voyager,  is  that,  really  and  truly,  these 
were  not  the  things  that  deterred,  but  the  things  that 
drove  him.  Their  propelling  power  was  infinitely 
greater  than  their  repelling  power.  It  is  quite  cer- 
tain that  if  the  Poles  could  have  been  reached  in  a 
sumptuous  Pullman  car,  neither  Peary  nor  Amund- 
sen would  have  made  the  trip.  It  was  the  stupend- 
ous difficulty  that  lured  them  on. 

228  The  Luggage  of  Life 

We  make  an  egregious  blunder  when  we  try  to 

persuade  men  that  the  way  to  heaven  is  easy.  The 
statement  is  false  to  fact  in  the  first  place;  and,  in 
the  second,  there  is  no  responsive  chord  in  human 
nature  which  will  vibrate  to  that  ignoble  note. 
Hardship  has  a  strange  fascination  for  men. 
Pizarro  knew  what  he  was  doing  when  he  traced  his 
line  on  the  sands  of  Panama,  and  cried:  "Com- 
rades, on  that  side  of  the  line  are  toil,  hunger,  naked- 
ness, and  drenching  storm,  desertion,  and  death ;  on 
this  side  ease  and  pleasure.  Choose,  every  man! 
For  my  part,  I  go  to  the  south.'  Garibaldi  knew 
what  he  was  doing  when  he  exclaimed :  'Soldiers, 
what  I  offer  you  is  fatigue,  danger,  struggle,  and 
death;  the  chill  of  the  cold  night  in  the  free  air;  the 
intolerable  heat  beneath  the  blazing  sun ;  no  lodgings, 
no  munitions,  no  provisions,  but  forced  marches, 
perilous  watch-posts,  and  the  continual  struggle 
with  the  bayonet  against  strong  batteries.  Those 
who  love  freedom  and  their  country  may  follow  me.' 
Men  love  to  be  challenged  and  taunted  and 
dared.  Six  thousand  men  eagerly  volunteered  to 
join  Captain  Scott's  expedition  to  the  South  Pole. 
Some  holding  high  and  remunerative  positions 
craved  to  be  permitted  to  swab  the  decks  of  the 
Terra  Nova.  A  captain  in  a  crack  cavalry  regiment, 
with  five  clasps  on  his  uniform,  a  hero  of  the  South 

The  Conquest  of  the  Poles  229 

African  war,  counted  it  an  honour  to  perform  the 
most  menial  duties  at  a  salary  of  a  shilling  a  month. 
Yes,  Pizarro  and  Garibaldi,  Peary  and  Scott  knew 
what  they  were  doing.  They  were  obeying  the 
surest  instinct  in  the  genius  of  leadership;  for  they 
were  following  Him  who  said :  'If  any  man  will 
come  after  Me,  let  him  deny  himself,  and  take  up 
his  cross  daily,  and  follow  Me;  for  whosoever  shall 
save  his  life  shall  lose  it,  but  whosoever  shall  lose 
his  life  for  My  sake,  the  same  shall  save  it.'  On 
the  road  to  Golgotha,  the  Saviour  challenged  the 
daring  among  men,  and  the  heroes  of  all  the  ages 
have  in  consequence  trooped  to  His  standard. 

But  the  colossal  obstacles  have  often  to  be  sur- 
mounted, Peary  tells  us,  in  the  cruel  cold  and  the 
dense  darkness.  And  such  cold!  It  is  surely  an 
allegory.  Many  a  man  feels  that  the  task  assigned 
him  would  be  difficult  enough  in  itself;  but,  in 
the  chilling  and  disheartening  atmosphere  in  which 
he  has  to  perform  it,  it  seems  impossible.  Bad 
enough,  thought  Benaiah,  to  fight  a  lion;  but  a 
lion  in  a  pit !  And  a  lion  in  a  pit  on  a  snowy  day ! 
Hard  enough  to  persevere  in  well-doing  when  in- 
spired by  sweet  whispers  of  gratitude,  and  cheered 
by  the  warm  breath  of  sympathy.  But  misunder- 
stood and  unappreciated!  There  are  millions  who 
have  discovered,  with  Peary,  that  life's  heaviest 

230  The  Luggage  of  Life 

loads  have  to  be  borne  in  the  most  nipping  and 
frigid  atmosphere. 

And  the  darkness !  Nobody  knows  what  darkness 
is,  Peary  tells  us,  unless  he  has  experienced  an 
Arctic  night.  Week  after  week,  with  no  illuming 
ray,  the  blackness  seems  to  soak  into  one's  very 
soul.  But  here  our  explorer  is  mistaken.  There 
are  many  who  have  never  been  within  thousands 
of  miles  of  the  Pole  who  nevertheless  take  up  every 
morning  their  heavy  burdens  and  bear  them  through 
an  atmosphere  more  chilling  than  that  of  Arctic 
latitudes,  and  amidst  darkness  compared  with  which 
an  Arctic  night  is  brilliant.  For  there  is  no  gloom 
like  the  petrifying  gloom  of  mystery.  The  sorrows 
of  all  time  reached  their  climax  in  the  Man  of 
Sorrows ;  and  the  anguish  of  the  Christ  reached  its 
climax  on  the  cross.  And  in  the  awful  heart  of 
that  anguish  there  was  darkness;  and  out  from 
the  darkness  emerged  the  expression  of  eternal 
mystery,  'My  God,  My  God,  why  hast  Thou  for- 
saken me  ?'  The  horror  of  the  ages  is  concentrated 
in  that  fearful  'Why?'  And  with  an  unanswered 
'Why?'  upon  his  dumb  lips,  many  a  Christian 
follows  his  Lord  in  the  dark. 

I  have  said  that  Peary's  book  is  a  classic  of 
distinguished  leadership.  This  reminds  me  of  the 
finest  thing  in  the  volume.  The  explorer  makes 

The  Conquest  of  the  Poles  231 

a  noble  boast.  In  the  course  of  his  life  he  has  led 
hundreds  of  men  among  Arctic  foxes  and  Polar 
bears.  And,  save  for  shipping  accidents  that  might 
have  happened  in  any  zone,  he  has  brought  them 
all  safely  back.  There  could  be  no  more  eloquent 
testimony  to  his  shrewd  foresight,  his  unfailing 
diligence,  and  his  almost  fond  unselfishness,  than 
that.  Of  nothing  is  he  more  proud.  But  Peary's 
leadership  is  modelled  on  a  greater.  What  though 
at  times  the  burdens  of  life  seem  crushing?  What 
though  the  atmosphere  seem  paralysing?  What 
though  the  darkness  seem  appalling?  He  leads 
on.  He  has  felt  the  darkness  and  the  cold.  The 
responsibility  is,  after  all,  in  the  last  resort,  upon 
the  leader.  And,  with  unerring  wisdom  and  beau- 
tiful accuracy  of  judgment,  He  picks  out  the  peril- 
ous path  and  apportions  the  difficult  tasks  to  the 
well-known  potentialities  of  His  followers.  'Of 
those  whom  Thou  hast  given  Me/  He  says,  'I  have 
lost  none.'  Commander  Peary's  great  book  has 
taught  us  that  the  wise  leader  sets  an  infinite  value 
on  the  welfare  of  his  most  lowly  follower;  and  that 
every  task  is  allotted  in  the  light  of  that  lofty  esti- 


I  HAVE  been  reading  a  pretty  tale  of  a  wee  lassie, 
who,  on  bounding  in  from  school,  exclaimed  that  she 
had  learned  to  punctuate.  'Indeed!'  exclaimed  her 
mother,  'and  how  do  you  do  it,  Elsie?'  'Well, 
mamma/  cried  the  excited  little  grammarian,  'it's 
just  as  easy  as  easy  can  be!  If  you  say  that  a  thing 
is  so,  you  just  put  a  hat-pin  after  it;  but  if  you  are 
only  asking  whether  it  is  so  or  not,  you  put  a  button- 
hook !' 

On  thinking  it  over,  we  have  reached  the  deliber- 
ate conclusion  that  there  is  a  world  of  sound  phil- 
osophy about  the  little  lassie's  explanation.  All  life 
resolves  itself,  sooner  or  later,  into  a  matter  of  hat- 
pins and  button-hooks.  If  we  were  to  hold  a  kind 
of  mental  spring-cleaning,  turning  out  all  the 
drawers  of  memory  and  cupboards  of  thought;  if 
we  were  to  sort  out  all  our  notions  and  ideas,  our 
doctrines  and  our  theories;  if  we  were  to  overhaul 
our  entire  intellectual  and  moral  equipment,  we 
should  discover  with  surprise  that  the  great  bulk  of 


Hat-Pins  and  Button-Hooks  233 

it  all  could  be  sharply  divided  under  these  two  heads 
— our  affirmations  and  our  interrogations;  the 
things  of  which  we  are  positive,  and  the  things  of 
which  we  are  doubtful ;  the  matters  on  which  we  are 
dogmatic  and  the  matters  on  which  we  are  dubious. 
The  soul  has  a  stock-in-trade  of  its  own ;  and  on  its 
shelves  are  to  be  found  the  goods  that  it  has  bought 
outright  and  the  goods  of  which  it  has  accepted 
delivery  on  probation.  We  carry  these  two  classes 
of  stores — our  certainties  and  our  suspicions — 
these  and  no  others.  Our  cupboards  are  crammed, 
that  is  to  say,  with  hat-pins  and  with  button-hooks. 

It  is  in  these  two  classes  of  goods  that  the  churches 
do  their  main  business.  The  Church  makes  great 
affirmations,  and  she  propounds  great  interroga- 
tions. She  declares  confidently :  We  know  whom  we 
have  believed!  We  know  that  all  things  work  to- 
gether for  good!  We  know  that,  if  our  earthly 
house  were  destroyed,  we  have  a  house  not  made 
with  hands,  eternal  in  the  heavens !  She  asks  great 
questions  too:  What  shall  it  profit  a  man?  How 
shall  we  escape  if  we  neglect?  What  shall  the  end 
be  of  those  that  obey  not  the  gospel?  Surely  the 
pulpit  is  of  all  places  the  natural  home  of  stupend- 
ous affirmation  and  searching  interrogation. 

Oliver  Wendell  Holmes  rushes  to  the  memory  at 
once.  '  "I  will  agree,"  said  Number  Seven,  "to  write 

234  The  Luggage  of  Life 

the  history  of  two  worlds,  this  and  the  next,  in  such 
a  compact  way  that  you  can  commit  them  both  to 
memory  in  less  time  than  you  can  learn  the  answer 
to  the  first  question  in  the  catechism."  He  took 
a  blank  card  from  his  pocket-book,  and  wrote : 

'  "Two  worlds !  Endless  doubt  and  unrest  here 
below;  wondering,  admiring,  adoring  certainty 
above.  Am  I  not  right?"  It  was  conceded  that  he 
was  right.  It  conies  to  this.  The  story  of  two 
worlds  can  be  set  forth  by  a  single  hat-pin  and  a 
single  button-hook. 

Hat-pins  and  button-hooks  are  both  very  good  in 
their  way,  and  for  their  proper  purposes.  We  have 
heard  of  hat-pins  being  used  with  vicious  intent  at 
football  matches  and  in  street  riots,  just  as  we  have 
heard  men  speak  with  certainty  where  they  would 
have  been  wiser  to  have  spoken  with  caution.  They 
were  cock-sure;  but  time  has  shown  that  they  were 
wrong.  It  was  an  abuse  of  the  hat-pin,  that  was  all. 
'Have  your  beliefs/  says  an  old  writer,  'and  have 
your  doubts.  Believe  your  beliefs,  and  doubt  your 
doubts.  Never  doubt  your  beliefs,  and  never  believe 

Hat-Pins  and  Button-Hooks  235 

your  doubts.'  It  is  a  quaint  way  of  saying  that 
the  hat-pin  and  the  button-hook  must  be  kept,  each 
in  its  proper  place,  and  must  be  used,  each  for  its 
proper  purpose. 

In  a  magnificent  lecture  delivered  to  students 
not  long  before  his  death,  Dr.  John  Watson  urged 
the  importance  of  this  very  thing.  There  are  certain 
matters,  he  contended,  on  which  the  preacher  can 
be  absolutely  positive — the  facts  of  Revelation,  of 
the  Deity  of  the  Son  of  God,  of  Sin,  of  Redemp- 
tion, and  of  the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  Round 
these  splendid  facts,  he  demonstrated,  there  revolved 
a  thousand  theories.  Between  these  things  he  en- 
treated the  students  to  distinguish  clearly.  'The 
facts/  he  said,  'should  be  declared  in  faith  with 
much  assurance;  the  theories  should  be  advanced  as 
contributing  light  with  diffidence.' 

The  button-hook,  like  the  hat-pin,  is  a  most  useful 
article  in  its  own  way.  It  is  a  good  thing  to  ask 
questions.  It  was  the  occupation  of  the  child  Jesus 
in  the  midst  of  the  doctors.  Towards  the  close  of 
his  life  Dr.  Thomas  Guthrie  wrote  a  beautiful  letter 
to  his  daughter  congratulating  her  on  her  first  ap- 
proach to  the  table  of  the  Lord.  The  letter  simply 
overflows  with  intense  affection  and  fatherly  coun- 
sel. And  it  contains  this  pertinent  passage:  'I  saw 
an  adage  yesterday,  in  a  medical  magazine,  which  is 

236  The  Luggage  of  Life 

well  worth  your  remembering  and  acting  on.  It  is 
this  wise  saying  of  the  great  Lord  Bacon's:  WHO 
ASKS  MUCH,  LEARNS  MUCH.  I  remember  the  day 
when  I  did  not  like,  by  asking,  to  confess  my  igno- 
rance. I  have  long  given  up  that,  and  now  seize  on 
every  opportunity  of  adding  to  my  stock  of  knowl- 
edge. Now  don't  forget  Lord  Bacon's  wise  saying !' 

There  are  only  two  men  in  the  whole  wide  world 
who  can  ask  questions  effectively.  There  is  the 
man  who  does  not  know,  and  wants  to  learn;  and 
there  is  the  man  who  does  know,  and  wants  to 
teach.  Of  the  former,  Alexander  the  Great  is  the 
classical  illustration;  among  the  latter,  Socrates 
stands  supreme.  We  all  remember  the  great  passage 
in  Plutarch,  in  which  the  rise  of  Alexander  is  largely 
attributed  to  his  endless  facility  for  asking  sagacious 
questions.  When  Frank  Buckland,  the  delightful 
naturalist,  was  in  his  fourth  year,  his  mother  wrote 
of  him:  'He  is  always  asking  questions.  If  there 
is  anything  he  cannot  understand,  he  won't  go  on 
till  it  has  been  explained  to  him.  There  is  no  end 
to  his  questions.'  And  Dr.  Culross,  in  his  exquisite 
monogram  of  Carey,  tells  us  how  the  'sensible  lad 
in  the  leather  apron'  attracted  the  notice  of  Dr.  Scott, 
the  commentator,  by  his  'modest  asking  of  appro- 
priate questions.' 

The  place  of  the  button-hook  is  permanent.     So 

Hat-Pins  and  Button-Hooks  237 

long  as  life  throbs  with  mystery  the  place  of  the 
interrogation  is  assured.  The  baby  asks  questions 
as  soon  as  he  can  prattle. 

Why,  muvver,  why 

Was  those  poor  blackbirds  all  baked  in  a  pie  ? 
And  why  did  the  cow  jump  right  over  the  moon? 
And  why  did  the  dish  run  away  with  the  spoon? 
And  why  must  we  wait  for  our  wings  till  we  die  ? 
Why,  muvver,  why? 

And  death  comes  at  last,  and  finds  us  still  asking  the 
old  questions : 


This  is  the  cry 

That  echoes  through  the  wilderness  of  earth, 
Through  song  and  sorrow,  day  of  death  and  birth : 



It  is  the  high 

Wail  of  the  child  with  all  his  life  to  face ; 
Man's  last  dumb  question  as  he  reaches  space : 


The  comfort  about  it  all  is  that  the  really  big 
things  of  life  are  represented  by  hat-pins,  and  only 
the  things  that  can  afford  to  wait  by  button-hooks. 
Dr.  Dale  used  to  illustrate  this  by  a  reference  to 
the  pillars  beside  his  pulpit.  'It  appears  to  you/ 
he  would  say  to  the  congregation  at  Carr's  Lane, 

238  The  Luggage  of  Life 

'that  these  pillars  support  this  arch  above  my  head. 
They  do  nothing  of  the  kind.  If  you  could  stand 
where  I  stand,  you  would  see  that  they  have  been 
cut  through  to  make  room  for  this  rostrum,  and 
they  actually  hang  upon  the  arch  which  they  seem 
to  support.'  In  like  fashion,  our  faith  seems  at 
times  to  depend  upon  the  theories  and  evidences 
concerning  which  we  ask  our  questions.  In  point 
of  fact,  it  does  nothing  of  the  kind.  If  all  our 
theories  and  evidences  were  cut  through  like  the 
pillars,  our  faith  would  still  stand  securely  like  the 
arch.  Our  certainties  infinitely  outnumber  and 
outweigh  our  speculations.  We  know.  The  soul 
plants  her  feet  on  a  sure  refuge  of  her  own.  Pro- 
fessor Forsyth  rightly  argues  that  to  the  individual 
consciousness  there  can  be  no  stronger  witness  than 
its  own  experience  of  the  love  of  God,  of  the  merits 
of  the  Saviour's  Cross,  and  of  the  efficacy  of  His 
risen  power.  These  the  soul  takes  into  stock,  not  on 
approbation,  but  for  ever  and  for  all.  She  buys 
these  truths  and  sells  them  not.  The  Christian 
gospel  holds  for  the  believer  stupendous  and  satis- 
fying certainties;  and,  amidst  these  affirmations, 
secure  from  all  interrogations,  the  heart  loves  to 
build  its  nest 



THE  brow  of  the  hill  has  a  divinity  of  its  own.  There 
is  something  distinctly  spiritual,  as  well  as  some- 
thing distinctly  sublime,  about  a  summit.  That  is 
why  the  heathen  loved  to  build  their  altars  there. 
How  often,  in  the  historical  books  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, we  are  told  that  the  idolatrous  people  erected 
their  shrines  and  raised  their  images  on  the  high 
hills  about  Jerusalem !  How  the  Aztecs  delighted  in 
rearing  their  strange  temples,  shaped  like  pyramids, 
on  the  loftiest  peaks  of  Mexico,  with  the  altar  on  the 
topmost  pinnacle  of  the  temple !  And  the  same  sure 
instinct  has  led  men  to  lay  their  bones  to  rest  on 
the  brow  of  the  hill.  They  wearily  sought  its  silent 
and  solemn  sanctity  at  the  last !  We  have  all  visited, 
at  least  in  fancy,  the  resting-place  of  Robert  Louis 
Stevenson.  'Nothing  more  picturesque  can  be  im- 
agined,' his  cousin  tells  us,  'than  the  narrow  ledge 
that  forms  the  summit  of  Vaea,  a  place  no  wider 
than  a  room,  and  flat  as  a  table.  On  either  side  the 


240  The  Luggage  of  Life 

land  descends  precipitously;  in  front  lies  the  vast 
ocean  with  the  surf-swept  reefs;  to  the  right  and 
left  green  mountains  rise,  densely  covered  with  the 
primaeval  forest.'  No  firearms  must  be  discharged 
about  those  slopes.  The  chiefs  insist  that  the  birds 
must  be  undisturbed,  that  they  'may  raise  about  his 
grave  the  songs  he  loved  so  well.'  I  saw  the  other 
day  a  striking  picture  of  Cecil  Rhodes's  lonely  grave 
on  the  crest  of  the  mighty  Matoppos  in  Africa. 
Two  lions  from  the  valley  beneath  are  standing  on 
the  great  flat  tomb,  and  seem  in  harmony  with  the 
wild,  romantic  place. 

But  I  no  longer  hold  the  attention  of  my  readers. 
Their  thoughts  have  left  Robert  Louis  Stevenson 
and  Cecil  Rhodes  far  behind,  and  have  visited  the 
strange,  lone  resting-place  of  Moses  among  the 
mountains  of  Moab. 

That  was  the  grandest  funeral 

That  ever  passed  on  earth ; 
But  no  man  heard  the  trampling, 

Or  saw  the  train  go  forth. 
Perchance  the  bald  old  eagle 

On  grey  Beth-peor's  height, 
Out  of  his  rocky  eyrie 

Looked  on  the  wondrous  sight. 

And  Browning  has  expressed  the  same  fondness 
for  a  mountain  burial  in  his  'Grammarian's  Funeral.' 

The  Brow  of  the  Hill  241 

Here's  the  top  peak;  the  multitude  below 

Live,  for  they  can,  there : 
This  man  decided  not  to  live  but  know — 

Bury  this  man  there? 
Here — here's  his  place,  where  meteors  shoot,  clouds  form, 

Lightnings  are  loosened, 
Stars  come  and  go!    Let  joy  break  with  the  storm! 

Peace  let  the  dew  send ! 
Lofty  designs  must  close  in  like  effects: 

Loftily  lying, 
Leave  him — still  loftier  than  the  world  suspects, 

Living  and  dying. 

Now  I  have  simply  pointed  to  these  altars  and 
monuments  that  deck  the  hill-tops  of  the  world  in 
order  to  prove  that  there  exists,  in  the  very  blood 
of  the  race,  an  instinctive  reverence  for  the  brow 
of  the  hill.  We  feel  that  summits  are  sacred. 
Why?  That  is  the  question.  Let  us  investigate. 

Now,  in  attempting  a  solution  of  this  alluring 
mystery,  I  must  call  to  my  aid  two  gentlemen 
of  rare  insight  and  of  profound  scholarship — 
Professor  George  Adam  Smith  and  Mr.  A.  C. 
Benson.  In  treating  of  the  I2ist  Psalm  the  learned 
Principal  says:  'To  the  psalmist  the  mountains 
spread  a  threshold  for  a  divine  arrival.  Up  there 
God  Himself  may  be  felt  to  be  afoot.  Whether 
we  climb  them,  or  gaze  at  them,  the  mountains 
produce  in  us  that  mingling  of  moral  and  physical 
emotion  in  which  the  temper  of  true  worship 

242  The  Luggage  of  Life 

consists.'  So  much  for  the  Principal.  Now  for  the 
schoolmaster.  'It  is  good,'  writes  Mr.  Benson,  in 
one  of  his  delightful  essays,  'it  is  good  for  the  body 
to  climb  the  steep  slopes  and  breathe  the  pure  air; 
it  is  good  for  the  mind  to  see  the  map  of  the  coun- 
try fairly  unrolled  before  the  eye;  and  it  is  good 
for  the  soul,  too,  to  see  the  world  lie  extended  at 
one's  feet  How  difficult  it  is  to  analyze  the  vague 
and  poignant  emotions  which  then  and  thus  arise !' 
*A  hill-top,'  remarks  another  writer,  'is  a  moral  as 
well  as  a  physical  elevation.' 

Now  it  is  as  clear  as  clear  can  be  that  the  hunger 
of  our  hearts  for  the  hills  is  only  a  part  of  the 
hunger  of  our  hearts  for  the  infinite.  The  instinct 
of  the  far  horizon  is  indelibly  engraven  in  our  very 
nature.  Go  where  you  will,  visit  what  city  you  like, 
and  you  will  straightway  be  taken  to  some  noble  and 
commanding  eminence  to  see  the  view.  Surely  this 
phenomenon  requires  some  explanation.  Even  the 
most  intelligent  of  the  lower  animals  betray  no  love 
for  the  landscape.  They  know  nothing  of  the  pas- 
sion of  the  far  horizon.  I  have  often  ascended 
Mount  Wellington,  at  Hobart,  and  gazed  entranced 
upon  the  magnificent  panorama  of  land  and  sea 
that  unrolls  itself,  in  altogether  indescribable 
grandeur,  at  one's  feet.  The  prospect  is  almost  over- 
powering. But  I  have  noticed  repeatedly  that, 

The  Brow  of  the  Hill  243 

whilst  every  member  of  the  party  turns  in  ecstasy  to 
admire  so  glorious  a  landscape,  the  horses  and  dogs 
— man's  most  intelligent  and  sagacious  companions 
— have  deliberately  turned  their  backs  upon  the  mag- 
nificent landscape,  to  forage  for  food  on  the  bushy 
slopes  near  by.  The  different  behaviour  of  the  men 
and  the  animals  is  much  more  than  a  matter  of 
degree.  It  is  a  contrast  in  kind.  It  is  a  direct  line 
of  cleavage.  It  is  arresting  and  inviting. 

In  one  of  his  most  captivating  and  suggestive 
passages,  Mark  Rutherford,  in  his  Revolution  in 
Tanner's  Lane,  tells  how  the  boys  of  the  tiny  hamlet 
of  Cowfold  would,  on  a  holiday,  trudge  the  three 
dusty  miles  down  the  lane  from  the  village  to  the 
main  coach  road,  and  back  again,  just  for  the  rapture 
of  reading  the  wondrous  words  'TO  LONDON/  'TO 
YORK/  on  the  finger-post  at  the  end  of  the  lane. 
The  romance  of  the  mysterious  fingers  pointing 
mutely  down  the  winding  road  along  which  the 
coaches  rattled  on  their  way  to  the  great  capitals, 
was  'an  opening  into  infinity/  to  use  Mark  Ruther- 
ford's words,  to  the  boys  of  Cowfold.  It  was  the 
next  best  thing  to  a  mountain  peak.  It  is  so  with 
every  boy.  The  instinct  of  the  far  horizon  burns 
within  him.  He  reads  Jules  Verne  and  R.  M. 
Ballantyne,  Captain  Marryat  and  Captain  Mayne 
Reid,  G.  A.  Henty  and  Gordon  Stables.  These  are 

244  The  Luggage  of  Life 

his  classics.  He  glories  in  boundless  plains  and 
impenetrable  jungles;  in  pathless  prairies  and  endless 
snows;  in  trackless  deserts  and  illimitable  oceans. 
He  revels  in  a  limitless  landscape.  His  fertile  fancy 
converts  every  hencoop  and  dog-kennel  into  a  wig- 
wam or  a  kraal,  every  paddock  into  a  prairie,  every 
terrier  into  a  tiger,  and  the  boys  of  every  neighbour- 
ing school  into  a  fierce  and  hostile  tribe.  He  is 
always  on  an  imaginary  hill-top,  looking  out  upon 
the  four  corners  of  the  earth.  He  loathes  the 
intimate  and  loves  the  infinite.  There  is  evidently 
some  subtle  and  mysterious  ingredient  in  his 
composition  that  is  totally  absent  in  the  make-up 
of  your  noblest  horses  and  your  finest  dogs.  The 
passion  of  the  wide  horizon,  the  instinct  of  the 
infinite,  the  spirit  of  the  summit,  tingles  in  his  very 

Yet,  after  all,  it  must  be  sorrowfully  confessed 
that  the  hill-tops  never  really  satisfy.  The  horizon 
is  always  small,  the  landscape  limited.  We  look  out 
to  sea,  and  we  wonder  what  ships  are  sailing  out 
there  beyond  the  skyline;  we  gaze  across  the 
land,  and  we  wonder  what  lies  beyond  the  distant 

The  peak  is  high,  and  flushed 

At  its  highest  with  sunrise  fire; 
The  peak  is  high  and  the  stars  are  high, 

But  the  thought  of  man  is  higher. 

The  Brow  of  the  Hill  245 

Yet  be  quite  sure  that  the  hunger  that  the  high- 
est peak  leaves  unsatisfied  is  no  mockery.  It  is 
to  appease  it  that  the  churches  live.  For  there  is 
another  hill-top.  'Then  said  the  Shepherds  one  to 
another,  "Let  us  here  show  to  the  pilgrims  the  gates 
of  the  Celestial  City."  The  pilgrims  then  lovingly 
accepted  the  motion.  So  they  had  them  to  the  top 
of  a  high  hill,  called  Clear,  and  gave  them  their 
glass  to  look.  And  they  saw  some  of  the  glory  of 
the  place.  Then  they  went  away  and  sang  this  song : 

"Thus  by  the  Shepherds  secrets  are  revealed, 

Which  from  all  other  men  are  kept  concealed : 
Come  to  the  Shepherds  then,  if  you  would  see 
Things  deep,  things  hid,  and  that  mysterious  be."  ' 

Let  all  the  Shepherds  of  all  the  flocks  take  note. 
The  hunger  for  the  hilltop  is  a  very  real  and  a  very 
beautiful  thing.  It  is  not  satisfied  by  rearing  altars 
there.  It  is  not  appeased  by  planning,  like  Steven- 
son and  Rhodes,  to  lie  in  stately  silence  there. 
There  is  no  mountain-peak  among  earth's  loftiest 
ranges  high  enough  to  gratify  the  cravings  of  a 
single  soul.  The  view  is  so  restricted.  Men  are 
hungry  for  the  wealthier  vision  that  is  to  be  seen 
from  the  summit  of  the  hill  called  Clear;  and  it  is 
for  the  Shepherds  to  take  these  wistful  pilgrims 


This  book  is  DUE  on  the  last  date  stamped  below 

JAN  29  193g 

Form  L-9-15m-3,'34 




6003     Borehatn  - 

A     000  501  239     8